Infrastructure, emergency readiness targeted for improvement

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 3, 2008

If Wesson receives approval for its desired bond for a newcentralized government complex, it would add to the already morethan $600,000 for city improvements recently acquired, or on theverge of being acquired, said Mayor Alton Shaw.

Wesson is scheduled to receive grant officials for a 10-day siteinspection beginning March 10 to determine whether or not the townwill receive a $300,000 supplemental community development blockgrant to address improvements needed after Hurricane Katrina.

Shaw said that nothing was yet official, but the approval of asite inspection almost always leads to the grant being awarded.There would be no site inspection, no hopes, had the grant’srequirements not recently been tweaked, allowing the town to get inon the action.

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“With these grants, we lose out on low to moderate income, whichis usually a requirement,” Shaw said. “This grant did away withthat, and we may get $303,250 for infrastructure repairs, such asditches and sewer lines.”

The mayor need not anticipate a $270,000 transportationenhancement grant his town applied for last year – it was recentlyapproved. The money will be put toward downtown beautification andpedestrian utility through the construction of new sidewalks.

“They told us in October that we had the grant, and we were ableto hire the engineers to look at the project over the last fewmonths,” Shaw said. “We’re hoping to begin construction sometimethis summer.”

Shaw said a walking path would be constructed between downtownWesson and Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Also, an aesthetic,brick-pattern sidewalk would be constructed through the center oftown alongside Highway 51.

Not all the town’s newly acquired funding is for walkways andsewer pipes, however. Shaw said the town has already advertised forbids to use a $29,000 Homeland Security grant to purchase anemergency alert warning system – two new weather sirens.

“One will replace the current speaker we have at the policedepartment that was installed in 1968,” Shaw said. “And we will adda second one on the north end of town. With those two combined withthe alert speakers at Co-Lin, the whole area will be covered.”

The new alert systems are not just sirens – they have PAcapability. Shaw said Wesson’s police officers will have theability to transmit voice warnings over the system, in casemessages need to be quickly spread throughout the community. Theterminal for transmitting voice can be accessed from city hall,from squad cars or by an officer’s personal radio.

“This will assist us in moving toward being a ‘storm-ready’community as set up by NOAA (National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration),” Shaw said.

Finally, the town has also secured a second Homeland Securitygrant, for $4,500, to purchase equipment for the police department.Shaw the funds would most likely be spent on installing dashboardcameras in the police department’s squad cars.