Work at Friendship Park sparks conversation of missed grant

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Funding of the Pearl River County Library system by the Picayune City Council was discussed during Tuesday’s Council meeting along with improvements to municipal parks.

Pearl River County Library System Director Carol Phares gave a presentation to the Council concerning the services offered at the county’s two libraries.

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Outside of providing access to thousands of books, access to the Internet and a variety of research materials, Phares said that staff recently started offering test proctoring. Because four members of the staff hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, they meet the requirements to provide that service to the community for free. Phares said that test proctors essentially sit with anyone taking an online test, such as for online college courses, to ensure the test taker is not cheating.

Part of the success of the local library system is due to the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Library, who not only hold free events for the public, but also conduct fundraisers to help the facility with maintenance and repairs.

A current project by the volunteer organization is to upgrade the circulation counter to make it handicap accessible.

After thanking city officials for supporting the library, Phares asked that when it comes time to form next fiscal year’s budget, the library system receive the same two mills of funding as last year.

No decision was made on her request during Tuesday’s meeting.

An update concerning repairs at Friendship Park was also provided during the meeting. Public Works Director Eric Morris said the repairs to Kid’s Kingdom focused on safety issues first, then moved on to structural and aesthetic aspects. Work is underway to restripe the roads within the park. At a later date, the parking lots will also be restriped, Morris said.

After he addressed the plethora of other work that took place, which was listed in previous coverage, Councilor Larry Breland asked for a cost estimate the city spent to do those repairs. Breland recalled that when he brought up seeking grant funding a couple of months ago to conduct repairs at every city park, it was voted down.

Morris said that while he could not provide a solid figure during Tuesday’s meeting, he was as frugal as possible in conducting the work, adding that a local tree cutting business donated the mulch generated from previous tree cutting jobs for use at Kid’s Kingdom, saving the city $6,000.

Morris also added that when his employees are conducting work around the city, they address immediate safety needs at every park. Some examples included cutting away vegetation so a ditch at Snyder Park will not hold water so mosquitos can’t breed and the removal of a dying tree at J.P. Johnson Park.

Breland requested a copy of the expenses involved in renovations to Friendship Park for the next Council meeting.