City Square bogged down, but moving forward

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Multiple topics in regard to the new City Square Park were discussed and the Poplarville Police Department was given an official recognition during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

The most recent session began with Engineer Jason Lamb asking the Board whether they wanted to move forward with installing seed or sod for the park. Concerns had been previously raised about how long the seed would take to grow and whether it would be ready by the time the park opened.

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Alderman Tony Smith said he spoke to local sod contractor Elton Hubbard and was quoted $75 per pallet, which would be delivered directly to the site. Stewart Development had originally quoted $12,877 to supply labor and material and only $3,600 for labor alone.

“If we just seed it, if we have another day like today we’re going to have a mud pile out there and it’ll be a terrible situation. I like the idea of moving ahead with the sod because it will get used immediately,” Alderwoman Shirley Wiltshire said.

Mayor Rossie Creel said a change order involving the the purchase of supplies outside of the original agreement with Stewart Development would mean grant money could not be used and the city would have to cover some of the expenses, approximately $5,175.

City Clerk Jane O’Neal said those funds could easily be found.

Even if it was not taken from the parks and recreation department, it could be pulled from another department.

A motion was approved to move forward with the change order.

“Leading into tonight I was hopeful progress would be more than it is. I’m increasingly discouraged with the progress they’ve made out there,” Lamb said about the park’s overall progress.

However, Lamb said he was optimistic things would begin to pick up soon. Although Mississippi Power was scheduled to install the decorative lamps to the park on Monday, Aug. 13, an update has moved the work up to Thursday, Aug. 9. Lamb said this will hopefully lead to more development this week.

Discussion of the installation of automatic meter readers also took place Tuesday evening. To potentially move forward with the project, Lamb said a small municipalities limited population grant could help defer the cost. The maximum grant per applicant is $150,000, he said.

Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District Senior Project Manager Regina Melton said the grant would be similar to what was awarded for the city’s new park. If approved, the city would have to provide 10 percent in matching funds.

Public Works Superintendent Sam Hale said the total cost to install automatic meter readers city-wide would be about $500,000. Financially, Lamb said the move makes sense, but operation of the new meters would entail a learning curve.

“I would like to see this move forward to at least see if we can make this happen,” Smith said.

Melton said she would get more information and present it at the next Board meeting.

In another matter, Creel read a letter from a local senior citizen who has difficulty walking long distances. In her letter the woman expressed her deepest thanks to the officer for taking the time to help her reach her car, which was parked across the lot.

Creel said that Chief Butch Raby was the officer who helped the woman. The Board thanked Raby for his service on behalf of the city.