Town pursues new sidewalks

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pounding the pavement soon will become a little easier indowntown Wesson.

Mayor Alton Shaw said construction on new sidewalks began in thefirst part of October and officials hope the project will becompleted by Thanksgiving. However, the mayor is uncertain if theTurkey Day deadline is realistic.

“I seriously doubt it, but that’s what we are hoping for,” saidShaw.

Shaw said the new brick walkways will cost roughly $280,000, buta sidewalk, landscaping and light grant is helping offset thecosts. For the additional funds needed, the town anticipatedreceiving the grant and planned accordingly.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation granted the townwith roughly $274,000 three years ago. Shaw said the lapse in timefrom applying for the grant to cashing the check was due to theprocedure of obtaining the finances.

“The abundance of paperwork the DOT requires, it was just a longprocess,” said Shaw. “From what I understand, this is common forgrants from the DOT.”

The new walkways will be laid throughout downtown around areassuch as in front of Ace Hardware, the Wesson Public Library andacross from Trustmark Bank. The sidewalk will feature brick, brickstamps and wheelchair accessibility.

“We wanted to get something that was not only safe and lasting,but would also add a certain level of attraction to the area,” saidShaw.

Shaw added that the old sidewalks were in deplorable shape withbroken bricks, missing sections, unnecessary step-downs and thelack of wheelchair accessibility in some places.

“This is something that’s long overdue,” said Ward Four AldermanBobby Britt. “I’m glad we got the grant.”

A smooth surface might not be the only update to the146-year-old town.

Britt also said the town is hoping to install the electricalcapabilities for six new lantern lights in downtown, three in eachblock.

“I’m excited about our town beginning to look better,” saidBritt.