Council welcomes projects and says farewell to Watkins

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, June 22, 2013

West Side Elementary soon will have sidewalks for students that walk to and from school.

The council on Tuesday accepted $100,000 in Federal Safe Routes to School grant funds that will provide infrastructure improvements in the vicinity of the school.

The original request to the Mississippi Department of Transportation included work to be done at three schools, and the funding total would have been higher had that request been granted.

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The three schools were Roseland Park Elementary, South Side Elementary and West Side Elementary.

After MDOT performed an assessment at the schools, West Side Elementary was the school with the biggest need, Dungan Civil Engineer Vernon Moore said.

“Students are walking in the middle of the street,” City Manager Jim Luke said.

The council accepted the use of Federal Surface Transportation Program funds up to $248,000. Mayor Ed Pinero on Friday discussed briefly with members of Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce the project that will pave a portion of Memorial Boulevard and add some lighting on Mississippi Highway 43 North. Pinero also mentioned the opportunity that Picayune now has to purchase the old Crosby Hospital.

At the meeting the council chose to enter into a closed session to discuss the opportunity.

“We probably won’t have an opportunity to own that much property on Goodyear Boulevard for a long time,” Councilman Wayne Gouguet said before the regular meeting adjourned. “I think it’s a very unique opportunity.”

Tuesday was Councilman Larry Watkins’ last meeting representing precinct one. “I want to thank the council and city in getting things done and helping and supporting me in my endeavors on the council,” Watkins said.

“We need to be thankful,” he said. “We live in a free country that allows us to run for office if we so choose.

“I prayed about it (the election). But I did not pray to win, I prayed that whoever the Lord wanted in this position would be in this position, Watkins said. “Who am I to argue with the Lord.”

It’s been a pleasure, said Pinero. “I’d like to thank you for how you’ve handled this,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect anything less out of you.”

Tammy Valente won the election against Incumbent Watkins on June 4.