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Halbert Heights ditch work gets under way soon

Weather permitting, crews will begin work on the Halbert Heightsdrainage ditch Wednesday, Mayor Bob Massengill told the BrookhavenBoard of Aldermen at their Tuesday night meeting.

“We’ve had our preconstruction meeting with Continental Railsand Excavation out of Hattiesburg, and they’ve done a tremendousamount of this type of work,” he said, adding that they beganmoving their equipment in on Tuesday but the weather wasn’tconducive to beginning the project.

The south portion of the drainage ditch has already beenriprapped, the mayor said, but the latest project would finish outthe portion from Halbert Heights Road to the Paul Barnett Nissandealership.

“These folks are anxious to get started,” he said.

The board also discussed the addition of the high-mast lights tobe added at Interstate 55 Exit 40. Massengill said the projectbegins March 12 and should be finished within five months of thestarting date.

The lights have fixtures that can be lowered to the ground formaintenance, Massengill said, and the wiring is completelyunderground. The city and the county are jointly responsible forthe maintenance and the bills.

Several local legislators and the city and county boards foughthard for the lighting, Massengill said, and now it has come tofruition.

“They did tell us there are no funds available for Exit 42, butthat’s on the agenda for the future as soon as funds becomeavailable,” he said.

Meanwhile, the board briefly discussed the Jimmy Furlow SeniorCitizens’ Center, which will be erected on the corner of FirstStreet and Cherokee Street. The mayor said there was a pre-bidmeeting on Tuesday with JBHM Architecture, and bids will beaccepted January 15.

“The architect was down here and handled it in a veryprofessional manner,” he said. “We’ve never worked with JBHMbefore, and we found they’re good folks and they really know whatthey’re talking about.”

Construction should begin on the center by March of this year,the mayor said.

The board also discussed a public hearing on lot cleanups at5:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

City officials have listed lots in their wards that needcleaning up, and the owners of the lots are notified of thehearing, where they are allowed to address the board with theirconcerns as well. Massengill said if there are a number of peoplein attendance, the regular board meeting that night will beginlate.