Train hub platform bid OK’d

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Multi-Modal Transportation Facility saw another step takentoward final completion, city officials joined a state dispute overspecial housing developments and a familiar downtown building couldbe getting a new, old look, according to activity at Tuesday’sBrookhaven Board of Aldermen meeting.

The Multi-Modal Transportation Facility will soon undergo the thirdand final phase of its completion.

The board accepted a bid of $84,900 from Gulf South Construction,LLC to add an additional 320 feet to the current platform length of80 feet.

“This is it,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner. “After that, it’s the grandopening.”

Bumgarner expects the crew to begin construction in about two weeksand to finish the project in roughly two months.

The extended platform is coming at no cost to the city. A grantthough the Mississippi Department of Transportation will fund 80percent of the expenses and Amtrak will be covering the city’s 20percent share of the project.

The facility, which is being named after former Mayor Bill Godbold,has been about 10 years in the making.

In other action Tuesday, aldermen agreed to support the MississippiMunicipal League and the Mississippi Association of Supervisors intheir lawsuit challenging rules regarding the appraisal of Section42 property.

Section 42 developments are taxed based on the income of theresidents and not the properties, which could result inmunicipalities and counties being forced to find that lost revenueelsewhere.

“They’re going to court because people aren’t paying their fairshare of taxes and the city is left to foot the bill,” Bumgarnersaid.

In addition to four Section 42 properties currently in Brookhaven,another development is looking to purchase 15 acres in WardSix.

“I don’t want existing property owners to pay all the costs to runa city to subsidize an LLC so they can increase their profits,”said Ward Six Alderman David Phillips.

Due to the pending litigation, the city passed a moratorium tosuspend activity on the possible future development until the issuehas been resolved. A public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 Wednesdayevening at the Government Complex concerning the development.

As Central Baptist Church looks to move from the Old ProgressiveMen’s Shop on Whitworth Avenue to its new location, property ownerJohn Lynch is beginning to look to the future.

The board agreed to assist Lynch’s efforts to construct an awningfrom his building over the sidewalk by allowing the removal of twobrick planters that would prohibit the large awning from beinganchored in the proper place. Lynch is working toward convertingthe former church into a hotel and hopes to have the outsidelooking as it did in the 1900s.

“We think it’s going to be a great project,” said Lynch.

Flower lovers need not worry. Officials are looking to relocate thecamellias that are currently bedded in the planters.

Also Tuesday, officials learned that electricity will also soonflow from Railroad Park as crews place the final touches on theelectrical boxes being installed there.

“They hope to have everything completed at least by the bike race(next) weekend,” said Bumgarner.