Vidalia to speed up Murray Drive

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 12, 2012

By Julie Cooper

The Natchez Democrat

VIDALIA — The Vidalia aldermen’s plans to increase the speed limit on a portion of Murray Drive moved ahead, well, pedal to the metal Tuesday night.

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Aldermen agreed to pre-file an ordinance — a necessary legal step — to increase the speed limit from 25 to 35 on the stretch of Murray Drive that runs from the former Chamber of Commerce office, behind several businesses and up to a residential area.

The limit will not be changed in the residential area.

Despite at least one raised eyebrow in the audience at Tuesday’s regular meeting, the aldermen agreed the speed change was appropriate.

“You cannot go 25 (there),” Alderwoman Mo Saunders said. “I have tried and tried.”

In other business:

– The board granted permission to Upriver Boat Supply of Natchez to begin work on an old, unused boat ramp on the Mississippi River.

The city agreed at its August meeting to lease the location to the business. City Attorney Jack McLemore said then that the company sought to open a business that would sell groceries and supplies to riverboats.

The business must receive approval from the Vidalia Riverfront Development Committee before opening, but the committee has not met to discuss the topic yet, and developers sought permission to begin preliminary site work now. If the business does not receive the proper approval, any money spent on the site will be at a loss to Upriver Boat Supply.

– The board authorized the sale of a surplus Dodge stratus formerly used by City Hall.

-The board supported a street department application for a Louisiana Government Assistance Program grant valued at $35,000. The money would be used to purchase lawn mowers and weed trimmers.

– The board approved occupational licenses for Hamilton Home Improvements, a repair business based out of John Hamilton’s Cedar Street house; and Concordia Medical Center, a physician clinic that is being remodeled on Carter Street.

-The board officially appointed Johnny Evans as the new fire chief. Jack Langston retired from the job last week.

Mayor Hyram Copeland did not attend the meeting. He is out of town attending a conference.