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City Square Park, new public works facility near completion

Members of the Poplarville Board of Aldermen heard about  updates to the new public works facility and City Square Park, as well as an application for the upcoming year’s Small Municipalities Grant.

At the beginning of the meeting, attorney and Forrest County Justice Court Judge Sheila Smallwood, addressed the Board about her intent to run for the 10th Judicial District Chancery Court Judge. She said that the previous Chancery Court Judge is retiring, so she will be running to take his place.

Smallwood said she grew up in Petal but has practiced law in Pearl River County on multiple occasions over the past 20 years. She said she is often in Poplarville’s courthouse and has an attachment to the city. Because of this, she was asking that the Board vote for her in the upcoming election. After Smallwood spoke, Mayor Rossie Creel said the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors submitted a request for the city to waive the $14,994 permit fee in relation to construction of the county courthouse annex. Creel said according to the city’s permit fee policy, the Board may waive all or any portion of a fee on a case by case basis.

Because the money would be coming from the county’s general fund, Board members decided to waive the fee. Alderwoman Shirley Wiltshire was the only member to oppose the matter. Alderwoman Anne Smith was not present and instead participated in the meeting via phone. While she first opposed the motion, Smith later changed her vote in favor of waiving the fee.

Engineer Jason Lamb appeared before the Board to update members about work on City Square Park and the public works facility.

Lamb said while there were setbacks, he suspected that both projects would be 99.9 percent finished by the end of August. Board members who would be free that day agreed to meet Thursday, Aug. 30 at 8 a.m. to tour the both projects and determine if anything needed to be changed.

“We have had some challenges to get there, but that’s part of construction,” Lamb said.

Lamb said the City Square Park is in a “hybrid” phase since there are so many different participants working to finish the project.

“A lot of things are going in the right direction, with the exception of Mother Nature,” Lamb said.

Lamb said laying the sod has been delayed since it has not been able to leave the farm because of bad weather. Some sod has been laid, however, primarily by workers of the public works department.

“The public works crew has had to take on some extra work laying the sod out there, which we did not anticipate. They have really worked hard, so if you see them, tell them they’ve done a good job,” Creel said to the Board.

City Clerk Jane O’Neal said that since the work on the park was delayed, the Board may be delayed in applying for the upcoming year’s Small Municipalities Grant.

Lamb said in order to apply for the next grant, the current grant needs to be closed. Although work will likely be finished by the end of August, paperwork and funding will probably not be complete until September.

“So we just have to let the chips fall as they may?” O’Neal asked.

Lamb said they would either have to make a decision that could compromise the project, or accept that the Board may not be able to meet the deadline for the grant. However, he said they could take steps to apply for it anyway, and hopefully figure out a way to make things work – especially since the delay wasn’t the Board’s fault.