By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Members of the Friends of Boley are preparing for a cleanup of Hobolochitto Creek and have made nominations for board member positions.
While the nominations will not be official until their next meeting set for Feb. 26, the nominations are: Scott White for president, Keith Kingrey for vice president, David Malcolm for treasurer and Christy Goss as secretary. If approved by the board, those appointments will be served until January of 2015.
Board member Derek Turnage also advised the group that it needs to revise its strategic plan for the year, and Goss suggested the group create brochures to help increase community awareness of what the group does and plans to do. The board approved for Goss to work towards getting the brochures printed.
Friends of Boley was formed in 2010 with the intention of cleaning up Hobolochitto Creek and making it into an asset people can enjoy and possibly to help build tourism. The group also has plans to go beyond cleanups and is working towards building a walking trail along a section of the creek.
The next cleanup is scheduled for April 20, and will include sections of West Hobolochitto from the bridge on Mississippi Highway 43 North down to Burnt Bridge. Volunteers who would like to shorten their trip down the creek will have the option to exit the creek at Long Bridge on Beech Street. Kingrey believes the groups should rent about 30 canoes for the public to use during the cleanup. If possible, he would like to get the cost of their rental donated to the group.
Another hurdle the group is working to overcome is securing 501c3 status, which will enable the group to accept donations of money and of land along the creek. The land would be used to build the walking trails. White asked board members if any of them would like to attend a free seminar set for later this month on how to establish 501c3 status. Turnage said he may be able to attend the seminar with White.
White said the Pearl River County Homeowners Association would like to make a monetary donation to the group, but will have to wait until the group attains non-profit status.
As for the trails, which will be named in honor of the late Tom Wagner who was instrumental in helping with the organization, Goss said the city still intends to donate the use of about 20 acres near the creek when the 501c3 status is acquired. Kingrey reminded the group it will need to check with the Corps of Engineers to see what kind of use the group can make out of any donated land since most of it will most likely be designated wetlands.
White also suggested contacting Crosby Arboretum to see if it would like to help with the trails, such as setting up displays to identify types of native vegetation along the trail.