Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
County moves projects ahead
By SUE WATSON
With the road and bridge construction season winding down, the Marshall County Board of Supervisors is trying to finish up some projects this year and look forward to programming more roads for State Aid funds for next year.
The county has to finish correcting some problems with bridges in the county in order to receive any more federal program monies, according to county engineer Larry Britt.
The county needs a redesign permit to complete and open the two bridges below the town of Waterford on Old Highway 7 South, he said. The project includes an easement to be obtained from the railroad.
“I talked with Larry Hall to see which bridges to close,” he told supervisors Monday. “They want the status and any bridges that can be replaced with pipes or small repairs.”
The overlay project on Hernando Road won’t be ready for closeout until striping is done in a couple of weeks, Britt said. Some striping has to be done on Marianna Road and fence replacement needs to be finished on O’Dell Road where two bridges are being replaced.
Overlay work on St. Paul Road won’t begin until the county gets all rights-of-way in hand. There are four that have to be obtained before that project can get underway.
Britt advised Hall to not do any work on a bridge on Mt. Carmel Road because the road is due to be programmed for State Aid funds. But that cannot be done until January 2008, he said.
Supervisors Keith Taylor and Eddie Dixon have asked Britt to program a portion of Mt. Zion Road for improvements next year.
Bill Renick, executive director of Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, reported the county is being looked at by several developers interested in locating projects in the Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park. And some business expansions are being discussed in the City of Holly Springs, he said.
He notified supervisors that $52 million in bonds have been issued for a segment of I-269 starting at the Tennessee line and coming across Highway 302. The money will be used for engineering surveys and land purchase. Actual dirt moving won’t likely begin until 2009, he said.
IDA is also working on a sewer project at Highway 72 near Cayce Road and on funding to finish the North Holly Springs Bypass.
Supervisor George Zinn III asked Renick if IDA will go forward with a study of educational needs and resources in the county.
IDA will do the study unless the IDA board changes its mind, he said.
He said the study was not sought or meant to criticize the education profession of the county but to build up all education, including private schools.
“When we started to decide to fund this study, we knew we would be met with criticism and mostly from the administrations in Holly Springs and Marshall County,” Renick said. “I think IDA will proceed with the study to try to lift up the whole system. They (consultants) would ask parents what they want and research funding and buildings.”
The headmaster at Marshall Academy, Jane Hubbard, has contacted Renick, he said, to express interest in what the academy could do to help the community as a whole address economic development concerns.
Renick said the idea for such a study to be funded by state development sources is “a unique thing” for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
But ARC pays for the study and options put forward from the study are not acted upon. If the study is put on the shelf to gather dust, ARC could ask IDA for some of the money back.
“ARC knows if they fund this first, other counties will ask for it, too,” he said.
“My concern and IDA’s concern is we cannot implement recommendations due to resistance of the schools,” Renick said. “My personal opinion is whey you produce a study that has specific recommendations, if the people of Marshall County decide they want to do something about it, then public officials are the ones who have the authority to act. I trust if the recommendations are good, Marshall County residents will let their feelings be known to public officials.”
He said one representative of a company moving to Mississippi has said businesses are not interested in a one-time shot of money or land as incentives to come to Mississippi.
“They said education is forever,” Renick said.
He likened the task of education to a marathon.
“This is no sprint,” said Renick. “We have to start on it and work methodically.”
After Renick’s report, supervisors made their appointments to the IDA board of directors. Bill Dawson was reappointed by Taylor and Kathy Crawford was reappointed by Dixon.
Supervisor Willie Flemon appointed Al Beck to replace Del Stover.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett reappointed Rodney Whaley and Zinn reappointed Lennel Lucas.
All members of the Northeast Planning and Development District were also reappointed.
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