Mayor outlines projects, plans at event
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Efforts are underway within the city of Picayune to continue to attract new businesses and improve city services.
During Friday’s Coffee with the Mayor held at Holiday Inn Express, Mayor Ed Pinero Jr., said that work to replacing aging natural gas lines have helped reduce the amount of lost product. These events are conducted by the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
As the city installs natural gas lines to replace the aging cast iron lines, Pinero said the city has already seen a 20 percent reduction in the amount of natural gas lost.
The city is in the process of beginning a similar project concerning water lines. He said the problem with cast iron lines is that if a leak is discovered, once it’s patched the re-pressurization of the line will inevitably lead to a new leak.
Engineers are looking into ways that the existing water lines could be lined with a polymer that would give them decades of more life.
Work at Crosby Commons was another topic Pinero touched on. The new park has had a fence for some time, but now work is underway to install a new brick paver entrance, complete with brick columns featuring gas-powered lanterns. He said there are still plans to build an amphitheater, bathrooms and a walking trail.
Residential development within the county is also reaching pre Hurricane Katrina levels. Pinero, who is also the county’s Planning and Development Director, said he has seen at least a permit a day being submitted to his office.
Pinero attributes the change to growth at the neighboring John C. Stennis Space Center.
He also hinted at the construction of a 50,000 square foot commercial building that could provide full time jobs to about 75 people, but stopped short of naming names. However, he did confirm the building would be constructed within the city limits of Picayune.
Again, with out naming names, he told the crowd that there have been three of four major restaurant chains express interest in developing in Picayune. If they decide to build here, it could mean an additional 20 to 30 jobs per restaurant.
The sand plant near Nicholson is back up and running, which provides jobs to several local truck drivers.
He also mentioned that several smaller manufacturers are considering the purchase of existing warehouses that could be converted into custom fabrication shops, working with such material as aluminum and steel. If the deal works out it could provide jobs to 10 highly skilled people, especially welders and plasma cutter operators.
Board President and District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee took the podium to share some county news. He said their recent trip to Washington DC was one of the most productive he’s seen. The response they received from Senator Roger Wicker’s office and his staff made him feel as though the county’s requests were being heard.
Lee said one of the board’s priorities is to recruit manufacturing to the county in a bid to not only provide jobs, but provide revenue for the county.
“We can’t keep raising taxes,” Lee said.
The county is also trying to entice gun manufacturers to relocate to Mississippi. Lee said the county sent letters to 60 such manufacturers.
To help keep volunteer firefighters safe, the board came to an agreement. Lee said the board is working with Motorola to secure 700 mhz radios for each volunteer fire truck in the county, which will be used on the Mississippi Wireless Information Network installed by the state after Hurricane Katrina. Lee said the radios are expensive, but provide near 100 percent coverage throughout the county, thereby ensuring the safety of emergency personnel.
“We’ve decided to step up,” Lee said. “So we’re going to help them with the radios.
Pinero also updated attendees on the progress in completing the Memorial Boulevard overlay project. He said a request was made to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for funding to overlay the major road from the area from Blanks Avenue to the Interstate 59 overpass.
“Once they write the check we’ll get started on that,” Pinero said.