Thursday, March 23, 2006
mayor hear requests
By SUE WATSON
New Hope Village director Shirley Dillard was among several people approaching the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen March 7 seeking support.
Dillard provided an activity report and ask for a letter of support from the city to include in this years grant application for $75,000. She also asked the board for $5,000 for this years budget at New Hope.
The Village currently has eight adult residents and two children, Dillard said.
Two housing units are under renovation and when completed will bring the number of habitable units to 13, she said. Rehabilitation of the units is done through donations of building materials and with volunteer labor.
The homeless shelter also provided food for 449 households and shelter to 22 families in the last year. Fourteen families evacuated from the Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina received off-site support. Dillard said 128 adults got clothing after fires.
Volunteer non-client hours donated last year came to 739, and client hours totalled 2,250. Dillard said residents contribute 1.5 hours work a day at the Village.
The mission of New Hope Village is to provide emergency shelter and food for the homeless and affordable community housing, she said.
The shelter serves as a collection point for donated clothing and furniture. The materials are used to provide startups for families who have lost their belongings in house fires and for residents once they locate housing and move out of the Village.
The board of directors for New Hope Village include Mary Ann Grausam, Alfred Moore, Melba Brown, John Boyuka, Ralph Howard, Paul Neely, Joseph Selman, Luberta Smith, Edith Taylor, Elijah Wilson Jr. and Gloria Marion.
To make donations or volunteer services to the shelter, contact any of the above mentioned directors or call the shelter at 252-4688.
Moore, vice president of Holly Springs Community Development Corporation which oversees the shelter and manages the Mississippi Industrial College properties, asked aldermen to double its contribution to utilities at the Holly Springs Police Department building. The city has rented the building at MI to house the police department for several years.
Moore said the increase was needed to help off-set increased costs of gas and electricity.
The police department uses about 90 percent of the facility.
Mayor Andre DeBerry suggested the board provide upkeep of the MI campus grounds in lieu of increasing the utility allowance, since the winter is about over and less energy will be used for heating.
No action was taken on Moores request.
Citizens voiced concerns at the meeting about conditions on some streets.
Artis Walton said cleaning is needed on Park Avenue, Valley Street and portions of Memphis Street and in the North Center Street alley area, where lighting is needed.
He called the conditions terrible.
DeBerry suggested business owners and citizens alert Crime Stoppers or police to report problems of any kind in the alley or anywhere in the city.
A person can report a problem to Crime Stoppers and not reveal their name, he said. Then police can go to the area to investigate.
We need your eyes and ears...to report dope sellers on the corners, he said.
Police chief Patricia Selman agreed and added that persons can report areas to the police that are in need of cleaning up as the city launches its spring cleaning campaign.
DeBerry said the city can clean around abandoned lots when the owners cannot be located. He added that community pride is a better way of keeping the community attractive.
Information technology director Ken Robinson noted that littering is a big problem in the county as well as the city.
Edythe Taylor suggested citizens should also call police when they see littering.
DeBerry remarked how uncanny it is to clean litter from an area and hours later new litter has been thrown out.
Weve got to keep trying to instill that pride, he said.
Alderman Tim Liddy suggested taking the city, section by section, to repair signs and potholes as was done a year ago. Patrolmen could monitor areas and report back to city hall areas that were in need of attention, he said.
But, the property owner has to cut his grass and clean, he said.
The Adopt-A-Street program people have moved, but cleanup day is a good idea to call attention to it, said the mayor. The perception people have of your community starts with their first ride through.
Community groups and churches should be encouraged to help with neighborhoods, particularly where there are a lot of elderly living, DeBerry said.
The city will use the street sweeper to clean curbs and run the edger to make right-of-ways attractive, he said. Property owners should not turn out their lawn mowers to blow clippings into the street, he said.
We can only do common areas, we cant dictate to owners, but we should encourage them, Liddy said.
We cant enforce the law of dilapidated cars; how are we going to work on grass? Taylor asked.
Mr. Walton mentioned Park Avenue, Selman said. Most of those on Park are elderly. Thats why I suggest a campaign to help them. Most of the population on Valley Street is rental.
Selman said old furniture is put out at the street, but since renters dont own the property, they say they dont know what should be done with it.
We may need to remind people of ASCOs bulk pickup day routes, said DeBerry. Broken furniture could be left in the rear of the house until the bulk route pickup comes through.
Public Works Director Ricky Shoffner said collections wont stop and pick up furniture and stuff that is not left near the garbage cans.
Theres also stuff flying out of the garbage trucks, said Selman. We have had to stop and tell them.
Liddy asked Shoffner if anyone takes notes to tell ASCO where to pick up bulk items left on the street.
Thats the aldermens responsibility, said Taylor.
DeBerry said aldermen ride the wards and report critical needs - anything that would be a health concern or potential liability. Those things are corrected immediately, he said.
We still have to do sidewalk repair on a phased-in basis, and ask aldermen their priorities and their general priorities, DeBerry said. We really need funding to do it all. The longer we put off that total plan, the more costs will go up.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun said Van Dorn is torn all to pieces.
Obviously, these are bond issues, DeBerry said. The city will have to seriously look at a bond issue.
Some homeowners are willing to pour new sidewalks if the city will take up the old ones, the mayor said.
Taylor questioned whether the city should do that.
We have esthetic issues, and safety issues and human decency, said DeBerry.
He rued the fact that so many areas in the city lack street-side walks.
There are lots of kids in the road because of no walks, he said, giving as examples Martin Luther King Drive, portions of Memphis Street and East Boundary.
The mayor noted that visitors to Holly Springs often have a better opinion of the city than people who live in the city.
We want people who live and work in Holly Springs to change their perception of the city, he said. The city has a lot of potential. It is a beautiful city, rich in history and culture.
Youve got some cities in North Mississippi that would love to trade places with us.
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