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City Council hears report on train depot

Picayune’s new train depot was reported coming along while some controversy on how much money will be used to clean the city’s Super Fund site arose at Tuesday’s council meeting.

City of Picayune Community Development Director Barbara McGrew gave the members of the council an update on the progress of the train depot. Frame work for the new building is almost complete and she provided the council members samples of brick types for them to pick one to complete the exterior.

McGrew gave a tentative completion date for the depot for the beginning of the new year.

“That would be a good Christmas present for the city,” Mayor Greg Mitchell said.

Picayune Main Street Inc. will sell corporate squares to be lain in the hallway floor and engraved bricks to be used as a walkway to the tracks. McGrew asked that the council set the price of the corporate squares at $500 and the engraved bricks at $30. Corporate squares will be made of granite and placed in the foyer of the depot, while the engraved brick will be used in the back porch and as a walkway to the railroad tracks. Proceeds from the sale of the squares and bricks will be used to purchase furniture for the depot. The council approved a motion to set those prices.

Councilman Leavern Guy said he received an e-mail from the Environmental Protection agency indicating that the funding promised to conduct the clean up of the Super Fund Site was cut from $28 million to $12 million. He said this cut concerns him and he speculates that cut could have come from the recommended zoning change of the area from I-2 heavy industrial to OS-2 open space.

“We got to be concerned about what is going on in that community,” Guy said.

Guy asked that all community members show their support to have that area cleaned in the best possible manner. Council member Anna Turnage said she has seen pictures taken of the stream that runs along that property and behind the residential area surrounding the site, which demonstrates the large amount of chemicals in the area. This county has a high cancer rate and she and all other council members ask community members to call their congressman to express the need for the proper clean up of the site.

“If anyone has ever had a family member go through cancer, it’s worth picking up the phone and calling that number,” Turnage said.

City manager Ed Pinero said he e-mailed the EPA to get a solid number on the cleanup funds and will report that to the council at a later date. The council approved the zoning change for the Super Fund site.

In response to a story concerning a recent Planning Commission meeting, Guy he has heard some complaints about his involvement on a matter. He said the discussion he had with the commission was just that and that no decision was made on the subdivision of the lots on Weems and Jarrell Streets.

The council went into executive session to discuss a contractual matter with Neel Schaeffer and a personnel matter with the Police Department. When they came out of executive session, the council approved moving forward with the comprehensive plan and population study with Neel Schaeffer, but took no action on the personnel matter, Pinero said.

In other business the council;

— Approved a request from Picayune’s Blue Knights Chapter 9 to conduct a police escorted motorcycle ride on Nov. 10, where all proceeds will be donated to Picayune area foster children.

— Appointed Ludy Mary Williams to replace Richard Reynolds on the Planning Commission.

— Approved extending the bill board sign moratorium for an additional 30 days.

— Accepted a bid from Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. Builders for the Hurricane Katrina repairs to Friendship Park.

— Tabled a request from Mark Gibson for the preliminary and final subdivision plats of a parcel on W. Sycamore Road until Oct. 2

— Approved the conditional use of a manufactured home on U.S. 11 across from the donut shop for a modular home sales business.

The next meeting of the council will be 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in the council chambers.