Infrastructure improvements ahead for area residents

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 11, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; While economic development is the top priority for city and county officials this year, other projects are also high on their list to be done in 2003.

For the City of Natchez, the reconstruction of Minor Street is a priority, said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

The project will include widening the street to 24 feet; installing curbs, gutters and storm drains; and building retaining walls along the street to help prevent the erosion of front yards.

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The project will be done with federal Urban Aid funds.

&uot;That’s definitely something we would like to start this year,&uot; Smith said. &uot;We’re doing the engineering work in house, and we’ve got the plans almost complete.

&uot;Hopefully, we’ll be ready to put it out for bids in the third quarter (of 2003).&uot;

Smith also said that other infrastructure improvement projects the city has planned for this year include drainage work on Martin’s Lane and East Stiers Lane.

Outside the city, Adams County officials will use a $30,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality to clean up illegal dumping sites.

&uot;We’ll identify those sites through the Road Department,&uot; said Darryl Grennell, vice president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Last month, the city received a $25,000 DEQ grant for the same purpose.

Cleanup of an illegal dump on the city’s right of way at the end of Bluebird Drive was completed last week by city crews, said Richard Burke, the city’s public works director.

This week, city crews will further tackle another dump on city property adjacent to the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center.

In addition, county officials are working with Waste Management to set up days for the company to pick up items they do not usually pick up, from old tires to appliances containing freon.

Such pick-up days &045; similar to the one Waste Management conducted in August inside the city &045; would help eliminate the places that mosquitoes breed, such as old tires.

Given the West Nile threat of the past year, said supervisors President Lynwood Easterling, such efforts are necessary to protect public health.

In house, the county hopes to provide its employees with better computer training this year to allow departments to better communicate with one another, Grennell said.

The county’s Web page will also be updated, he said.

Lastly, the Board of Supervisors will remain committed to curbing travel expenses to help rein in the county’s budget, Easterling said.

&uot;After all,&uot; he said, &uot;these are taxpayers’ dollars we’re talking about.&uot;