Thursday, September 17, 2009
City seeks grant for Ida Wells Museum
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen approved a request last week from curator Leona Harris to make a second round of renovations at the Ida B. Wells Museum.
The purpose of the museum is “to inspire and enrich the lives of Mississippians and people everywhere by sharing the history and culture of African Americans,” she said.
The request for up to $290,000 in renovations would be a continuation of the 2005 renovation, Harris said. She asked the city to apply for this second grant with a deadline of October with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry explained that the facility is owned by the city, and therefore, the city would have to apply for the grant. The requested funds would require a 20 percent match from the city or $58,000.
Aldermen were concerned about where the money would come from and DeBerry said matching money would have to come from the city budget.
DeBerry said the scope of the proposal should be reduced to get a realistic figure for the new fiscal year budget, which must be adopted by September 15.
The second grant would become Phase 2 and a Phase 3 could take care of more work requested, he said, and recommended the board retain a certified architect approved by Archives and History to help outline the scope of proposed renovations.
The board unanimously approved retaining an architect.
In department reports that followed, Ken Robinson, director of Information Technology, reported on a visit he and the mayor made to Northwest Community College recently where expansion of existing workforce training was discussed.
“We are proud to say the meeting went very well,” he said. “We have an eight-year relationship with them in education and training and want to grow the relationship.”
The matter of creating a satellite campus in Holly Springs was discussed at the meeting to serve citizens of Marshall and Benton counties.
“We are trying to expand and reposition the workforce to get new jobs,” he said.
DeBerry said the city wants some services back in the county on a part-time basis at minimum. He cited the social security office as one example.
Next up was Don Hollingsworth, public works director. He requested that monies coming from the American Recovery Act asked for to resurface West College and Randolph streets be cut back due to federal specifications. Those specifications require sidewalks to be ADA assessible and that mailboxes meet federal standards to break away when struck by a vehicle. Some commercial signs will have to be moved because they encroach on the street to be overlayed, he said.
Hollingsworth said exceptions requested for the commercial signs have not been granted and he doubts they will. The city would be liable should one of the encroaching signs be struck by a motorist, he said.
Randolph recommended the Randolph Street rehabilitatioin be removed from the city’s request for funds and that West College be retained in the project. The board unanimously approved dropping Randolph Street from the list.
Alderman Harvey Payne asked when an opened manhole on West Street would be repaired and closed.
Hollingsworth said he was told to wait until the next fiscal year budget comes around (October 1) to do the repairs because expenditures had been frozen by the mayor.
The mayor and board discussed hiring a purchasing agent at the suggestion of alderman Johnnie Bagley.
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