Pinero talks of the future over coffee

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, June 22, 2013

“It’s time to look forward to the next four years,” Mayor Ed Pinero said Friday morning during Coffee with the Mayor at Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library. “Elections are over and we have two new council ladies that have been elected.”

Pinero briefed those attending on the infrastructure projects that are coming to a close. “We have one road left,” he said, “and in this last four-year period, every road has been paved.”

A section of Memorial Boulevard will be paved and striped and lights should be installed at Mississippi Highway 43 North and Sycamore Road.

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The Federal Surface Transportation Program is funding $248,000 for the project.

“The county portion of Highland Commons Boulevard is complete,” Pinero said. “The developer, we’re told, will start (on the connecting section) in July and should take a few months to complete.”

In the future, Pinero plans to pay more attention to beautification versus infrastructure. Modifying the sign ordinance or the façade ordinance were used as examples, “We need to get away from homemade signs,” he said.

“When trying to sell this city,” Pinero said, “you want to show something nice.”

Pinero also discussed an opportunity that the city has, and that is to purchase the old Crosby Hospital on Goodyear Boulevard. The old hospital, owned by Southern Regional Corp., sits on two complete city blocks, Pinero said.

“If the council votes are there,” he said, “we’d purchase the hospital and remove the facility.” The goal is to have the property as perpetual green space.

“Jim (Luke, city manager) and I believe we should ask the citizens what to do with this space,” Pinero said.

Attendees mentioned ideas of a wellness venue and walking track going on the property. Some suggested an amphitheater.

Downtown Picayune business owner, Steve McDonald said that he has had concerns of what will happen to the building. “I think this will be a great addition,” he said regarding the green space.

Pinero said that the city will continue taking ideas on the matter, and that he “wants something that as many people as possible could use.

“I’m looking at strictly leisure,” Pinero said.

“Prices are not nailed down yet (for the property), and the city is negotiating,” Pinero told the Picayune Item later Friday afternoon.

The price that’s offered to the city will be significantly lower than that asked of a retailer that may come in, he told.