Work schedule puts transport hub on ’09 track

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

After almost a decade, the proposed multi-modal facility isstill in the works and appears to be another step closer tobecoming a reality, city officials said.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Mayor Bob Massengill handedout an anticipated project progress schedule from BarrancoArchitecture and Interior Design that shows a possible completiondate of early December 2009.

“We’re in the progress now of scaling back so it will fallwithin the money we have available,” Massengill told the board.

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The project, which has been scaled down from the $5 millionproject proposed years ago by former Mayor Bill Godbold, has hitmultiple roadblocks. After long consultation with the FederalRailway Administration, Canadian National Railroad, the MississippiDepartment of Transportation and AMTRAK, many of them have beenironed out.

The estimate in 2005 was around $900,000, but architect MichaelBarranco said work in 2009 will cost $1.35 million. Massengill saidthe city can apply for an appropriation that would cover 80 percentof the additional cost, meaning the city’s cost would be around$90,000 to $100,000.

Meanwhile, Canadian National Railroad told the mayor in anOctober e-mail that if the facility is built, the railroad crossingat Josephine Street must be closed for safety reasons. Officialssaid this could also potentially bring in an additional$20,000-$30,000 from MDOT.

Massengill said, however, that the construction process couldend up being more expensive than anticipated.

“Just where we’re not caught off guard, we think with economylike it is that prices on renovations are going to come down. Butwe opened bids today on the old city hall and they wereconsiderably higher than we anticipated,” he said. “So in that caseit’s back to the drawing board with the architect, but we aremoving ahead with this project.”

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes pointed out that the priceswould possibly come down a little after the new year. Ward FiveAlderman D.W. Maxwell said to his knowledge, many companies are attheir top rates now.

“This one has been delayed and delayed and delayed,” Massengillsaid in answer to a question from Maxwell about delaying theproject. “It’s been around a long time and can’t be delayed anyfurther.”

The advertisement for bids is slated to come on Dec. 22, withbids scheduled to be opened Jan. 22.

Meanwhile, Massengill said, the city needs to find a plan forthe old Stahl-Urban building, as the building is in poor shape andis posing a fire hazard to neighbors and people are trespassing onthe property. Massengill asked the board to approve a motion toproceed with demolition, adding that the rubbish cannot go to thecity’s landfill because it couldn’t handle the debris.

“No bid will be accepted unless the board accepts it, but wedon’t know what the cost will be or what we’ll get out of it,”Massengill said, adding that city officials will talk withengineers to see what stipulations need to go in the biddocument.

Massengill also updated the board on the Jimmy Furlow SeniorCitizens’ Center progress, saying that he and Public Works DirectorSteve Moreton had met with architects on Monday about bidding outthe project in the next few weeks.

In addition, the mayor said Copiah-Lincoln Community College hasbeen asked to move its learning trailer by early February.

“We’re hopeful they’ll take their 13 computers and make themavailable to our senior citizens facility and we’ll provide them anice, clean, lighted, heated and air-conditioned place to havetheir classes,” he said.