Thursday, August 18, 2005

Byhalia reaps $100,000

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

The Town of Byhalia’s growth and renovation efforts received a big boost Monday.

Gov. Haley Barbour announced a $100,000 grant to the Marshall County town under the Mississippi Development Authority’s (MDA) Small Municipal and Limited Population Assistance Grant Program.

The money will be used to renovate two town-owned buildings, the old Byhalia High School and the adjacent gymnasium, to be used as the town hall and various other municipal offices.

“We’re excited to receive this $100,000,” said Byhalia Mayor Scooter Dempsey. “This will help greatly in our demolition work, renovation and some of the master plan design for the final development plan of turning the old school building into the new town hall.”

Dempsey said the front of the school building, added in the ’70s, will be torn off and the original front put back on.

“We will gut the building, clean it out so the master plan can be designed,” he said. “We also want to reroof the old gym and salvage it. The goal is to get the gym in use for the children.”

Two years ago town hall, the police department, the library and Northwest Community College opened offices in a remodeled brick building behind the old school.

“We’re already outgrowing it,” Dempsey said.

His goal is that Northwest will keep expanding, and the college and the library will occupy the back building. Plans call for town hall and the police department to move into the old school building. Other offices will also be available as the town grows, including one for parks and recreation.

MDA’s Small Municipal and Limited Population Assistance Grant program is designed to assist smaller, less populated communities in the state with economic and community development projects.

Tunica County received $87,585 to install 65 new sanitary sewer cleanouts and install sewer service lines in the city of Dundee.

“I am pleased these counties were awarded state support to build and improve their existing infrastructures,” Barbour said. “These enhancements are certainly needed as our local municipalities strive to reach their economic development goals.”

“While big economic development projects often get the most attention, my administration is just as concerned about economic development and infrastructure projects in our smaller communities. These grants will have big impacts on the residents in these areas.”

Sen. Ralph Doxey thanked the state, on behalf of the citizens of his district, for supporting local projects.

“These taxpayer dollars are being invested wisely – back into the community,” Doxey said.

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