Debate over road ended by Aldermen

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2018

After putting the West Scott Street gate conflict to rest during Tuesday’s meeting, the Poplarville Board of Aldermen approved several events and created a committee to oversee entry into the Healthy Hometown program.

Poplarville resident Donald Catherman appeared before the Board at Tuesday night’s meeting to request the city abandon the portion of West Scott Street where he has erected a gate, instead of forcing him to remove it.

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Catherman said he conducted research online in regards to laws concerning roads that have been left as a dead end. He said that according to that research, since the road was more than 21-years-old and no maintenance work had been done to keep it accessible for through traffic, the city should abandon the end of the road and turn it over to him. Catherman gathered several signatures from several neighbors indicating they would be willing to relinquish their rights to the end of the road, effectively allowing him to assume control of the land past his gate. Catherman provided the list to the Board for review.

City Attorney Colette Oldmixon said that even though the road is fairly old, there is no Mississippi law regarding abandonment of a dead-end road.

“Vacating (a road) for a single, private person is not something that is supported by law,” Oldmixon said.

After continued debate between Catherman and the Board, Mayor Rossie Creel said he was putting the matter to rest since the law clearly did not allow the road to be abandoned.

“That’s the end of it for us,” Creel said.

The Board then received an update concerning repairs to the Poplarville Fire Department’s ladder truck.  Fire Chief Jonathan Head said the repairs are nearly done, with only the starter left to install.

In a separate matter, the Board approved a motion to involve the city in two separate Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation programs.

A motion was approved for Creel to apply for a grant from the 2018 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Healthy Heroes Program. Under this program, local law-enforcement officers, deputies and firefighters would be trained to visit elementary schools in Poplarville to teach students the importance of being healthy.

In addition to the city’s involvement in the Healthy Heroes Program, an eight-member committee was formed, with Alderwoman Shirley Wiltshire as the chair, to ensure the city meets the requirements for the upcoming Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Healthy Hometown award program. The Healthy Hometown program awards four grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 to Mississippi towns that go above and beyond to stay healthy. The grant, if won, would be used to further the goal of keeping Poplarville healthy. 

According to the 2018 Healthy Hometown application, “the winning municipalities will be those who have made the most strides in creating a healthy community and who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to a healthy culture.”

Pearl River County Sheriff Department’s Chief Deputy Shane Tucker received authorization to hold a fundraiser at the City Park gazebo to raise funds for Deputy Brian Anthony to help cover his medical expenses. The event will be held April 27 and plate lunches will be available to purchase.

On March 27, the 155th National Guard Battalion in Poplarville will deploy for a training mission in Kuwait. The Board approved a request from the Poplarville Fire Department to wave flags over U.S. 26 to recognize and thank the battalion for their service.

The next Board meeting will be April 3, at 5 p.m. in City Hall.