New hotel proposed for Picayune at Council meeting

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

While plans are not finalized, a representative for a developer presented the idea of applying for tax increment financing to the Picayune City Council in an effort to help in the construction of a new hotel in the city.
The proposal for the hotel, which came with scant details, only addressed the need for infrastructure. The only details outlined during Tuesday’s meeting of the Council stated the development would take place off of East Jerusalem Road, by way of an access road that would follow the southbound lane of Interstate 59. Billy Martin, who represented the developer, requested the assistance of the city to apply for the TIF. Martin said that if the city was unable to help, the developer would attempt to apply for the TIF alone.
Mayor Ed Pinero asked City Manager Jim Luke to determine what infrastructure is in the area already. No other action was taken on the matter.
Later in the meeting, Public Works Director Eric Morris presented an updated beautification plan for Crosby Commons. As previously reported, the trees currently lining Goodyear Boulevard in concrete planters will eventually be relocated to Crosby Commons. Additionally, there are plans to add benches at the four corners of the park, and two curved benches in the center of the park.
The work will install a walkway from both entrances of the park, from Sixth Avenue to Goodyear Boulevard, and build a circular centerpiece where two serpentine backless benches will be installed. Morris said the backless benches were chosen for the center of the park to provide an unobscured view of the amphitheater currently under construction.
To help fund these improvements, trees and benches can be purchased by private citizens in honor or in memoriam of a family or community member. Morris said that cost will entail the city’s expense to install the benches/trees, including the cost of the bench, shipping, concrete and employee labor, where applicable.
In all, 28 trees will be planted in the park. Crape myrtles will be planted where existing crape myrtles exist, hollies from the planters will be placed along the walking track, willow oaks will be planted at the four corners of the park and red maples will be planted at each entrance. No action was taken on the matter.
The Council also approved the security service agreement between the city and the Picayune School District. That agreement will provide four school resource officers, one to be assigned to the high school, one to the junior high, another to the alternative school and a fourth to Nicholson Elementary.
Councilor Janice Stevens asked why officers were not assigned to the other elementary schools. Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said the placement of officers is up to the school district since it pays 100 percent of the $148,000 for the contract, but he said the most logical reason was due to the fact older children are not as easily controlled by the teachers. The reason for an SRO at Nicholson was due to the distance of the school from the city’s center.
However, SROs do patrol the other schools on occasion, either during programs or just to conduct a walk and talk, Dawsey said.
The next Council meeting will be June 6 at 5 p.m.

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