Bids being sought for Highland Parkway

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RECOGNITION: Roger Simmons, at left, and Tommie Simmons at right, were recognized for their hard work and dedication as city employees over the past decade. Center, is Mayor Ed Pinero Jr. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

RECOGNITION: Roger Simmons, at left, and Tommie Simmons at right, were recognized for their hard work and dedication as city employees over the past decade. Center, is Mayor Ed Pinero Jr.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Members of Picayune’s City Council recognized two city employees for their dedication during Tuesday’s meeting.
Tommie Simmons and Roger Simmons were both recognized for their hard work, versatility and dedication while being employed with the city.
According to the resolution read by City Manager Jim Luke, Tommie Simmons joined the city in November of 2006, while Roger Simmons joined in July of 2005.
In other business, the council approved a motion to go out for bids for three projects.
The first project was the Enhancement of Greenspace along Goodyear Boulevard project, which will install the walking track, lighting and outdoor stage at Crosby Commons, said City Engineer Vernon Moore. That project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
A second project discussed was the Water Distribution Improvement project. Moore said that project will replace old water lines along Davis Street, Herring Drive, Weems Street and Jarrell Street that are too small or made of asbestos, Moore said.
The final project discussed during Tuesday’s meeting involved Highland Parkway, the unfinished road that connects U.S. 11 and Sycamore Road near Highland Community Hospital.
The council approved motions to go out for bids for all three projects. Moore said he expects the water line project to begin in the next couple of months, but the Highland Parkway project probably won’t start until sometime in October. However, completion of Highland Parkway is still expected before the end of the year. That work will cost about $800,000, to be paid via a combination of the city and county each kicking in $100,000, $250,000 coming from surplus MDOT grant funds, and $350,000 coming from the developer, according to previous coverage.
Sidewalks in the city were recently evaluated as part of the city’s effort to meet federal mandates. Public Works Director Eric Morris said the estimated cost to repair all of the sidewalks identified as non-compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations to be about $600,000. The only way to bring them all into compliance within the suggested eight-year time span would be to secure grants. Morris said there are no grants to apply for at this point, and if that changes the majority of them would come from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
In previous coverage Morris said the city has budgeted between $10,000 to $20,000 per year to repair the sidewalks. Morris plans to stretch that funding by using city employees to get some of the work done.
City resident Curtis McElroy expressed discontent with recent utility rate hikes. He said he lives in an area comprised predominately of senior citizens, most of whom have been negatively affected by the rate changes.
“I know people that walk to the store because they can’t afford to start their automobile,” McElroy said.
He asked the council to work with the other entities to keep rates low.
Jack Brans, a Picayune homeowner, expressed concern with development taking place across the street from his home along North Harvey Street.
He said that ever since that development started, dirt has been brought in to raise the base of the property, causing him to be concerned that homes may flood in the future. Brans also said that to his knowledge no permits have been pulled for the work conducted so far.
While he has no proof, he also suspects the work will build a multifamily structure, in an area where single-family homes occupy all of the lots. Luke said he would talk with Brans to get more information on the work being done there.
Councilor Larry Breland commended the Picayune Police Department, Picayune Fire Department and others who helped organize the funeral services for Bonnie Cousin, a long-time dispatcher who passed away recently.
Charlene Arnold presented the council with a $500 donation to be used at Ben Taylor Park.
The next council meeting will be Aug. 2, at 5 p.m.

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