Thursday, April 21, 2011
Traffic light not soon
By SUE WATSON
The subject of when a traffic light will be installed on Highway 7 South at KFC was recently discussed by the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen and mayor.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun quipped that he has tried to get the traffic light at that location since his first year in office 20 years ago.
Alderman Russell Johnson wanted to know if there is a way people can go to West Boundary from the Save a Lot or KFC parking lots. The entrance is barricaded on Highway 7 South, but sometimes people are illegally going around the barricades to cut through.
Don Hollingsworth, head of the Holly Springs Electric Department, brought up the speed limit on West Boundary, which was set at 40 mph but was decreased to 30 mph because straightaways make the area a wonderful place to speed. The extension of J.M. Ash has not been completed and a traffic light cannot be installed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation until the intersection is complete, he said. The funding for the light is pending Federal Highway Administration funding and Congress had not passed that budget, he said.
“Will it be in my lifetime?” Johnson quipped.
Hollingsworth said $9 million has been spent in economic development in the area.
“And I can assure you we will have a light,” he said.
Hollingsworth took the opportunity to praise utility workers who were on the ball getting electricity restored after the April 4 afternoon thunderstorm. Outages due to 30 to 40 mph winds took down a few old utility poles but dispatch personnel and line workers had most power back up by 5:30 p.m. Monday, he said.
“It was a show of unity from the ladies in the office to the men outside,” he said. “I thought they did an excellent job.”
After this praise, Hollingsworth asked the board to OK some fence repairs at several lift stations caused by downed tree limbs. The board approved the work.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry then announced a proposed development by the owners of the old country club property. The owners want to work with Mississippi Home Corporation to construct 101 single-family brick homes, he said. Phase I would build 43 homes. Houses would be 1,400 square feet heated and cooled and 2,200 square feet including a two-car garage.
Aldermen asked why the group was holding a public hearing on board meeting night
Felicia Autry, zoning administrator, said the group has to follow state regulations as well as anyone else.
DeBerry added that they have to determine there is a need for housing, have to show interest for it and must contact their neighbors. The homes will be in the $150,000 range, put on a 30-year mortgage plan with the first 15 years to be lease/purchase, if the homebuyer wishes. At the end of 15 years, the homebuyer can purchase the home for the balance owed - $75,000, he said.
The mayor added that the city needs new housing and would profit by the new population the subdivision would attract. Property taxes would be collected and utilities would make money for the city.
Artis Walton approached the board to express concern about uncleanliness in the city.
“Every day I pick up paper when I get up, at lunch and in the evening,” he said. “Once our street was one of the nicest streets in the city. Now the street is the worst. Housing is going down.”
The mayor responded that the city has worked with MDOT to clean up areas and the city had an adopt-a-street program that helped at one time to clean up the areas.
“Ultimately, the staff can attest to how do we change a mindset to where they (residents) see the need of cleanup?” he said.
The mayor said it is impossible to enforce cleanliness. And the city cannot keep it picked up with the staff it has, he said.
“I think there has to be a cultural change,” he said. “There has to be pride in the community, starting with the staff. But an ongoing process is better. The city has put in $10,000 just doing property clean-ups.”
The city places a lien on the property owner’s tax and collects what is owed when the property sells.
But ultimately, it is up to the community to solve the problem, he said.
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