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City receives award as the Scenic Community of Mississippi for 2018

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune City Council, City Manager Jim Luke announced that Picayune had received a statewide community forest award. Luke read the press release from the Mississippi Urban Forest Council Executive Director Donna Yowell.

“The City of Picayune was recognized as the Scenic Community of Mississippi for 2018. Scenic communities is a program designed in 2000 in honor of First Lady Patricia Fordice. The Scenic Community program recognizes one community each year for its efforts in maintaining a healthy green infrastructure. The program also provides a resource guide listing grants and natural resource assistance for communities statewide. Picayune was recognized at the 31st Statewide Urban Forestry Awards, November 2018 at the Statewide Urban Forestry and Green Infrastructure Conference in Jackson, MS. Urban forestry awards have been sponsored for 31 years by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council and its partners. The City of Picayune continues to demonstrate their care and appreciation of community trees and landscapes attracting both visitors and commerce to the city. Picayune has implemented some of the best landscape practices, models, and policy than most communities. Picayune citizens play an important role in the “livability and charm” of this vital Mississippi community. The city is also a member of Bloomtown, MS."

Public Works Director Eric Morris gave some background on how the award came about after he had spoken earlier in the day with Ms. Yowell with the Mississippi Urban Forest Council.

“The last several years, Daryl Smith has attended the statewide conference meeting. Along the way conversations took place and every year they got a little more, a little more, and a little more interested in Picayune. That resulted in them asking us to put a powerpoint presentation together on our journey on how we got here, before greenhouses and with greenhouses, and what we’ve done since we have had those (greenhouses) and all the landscaping programs we’ve done here in the city of Picayune,” Morris shared.

Morris said he made the presentation and Daryl presented it and evidently they were impressed with it based on the bragging on it to Morris. Yowell told Morris that the city of Picayune is the only city in Mississippi to have a greenhouse program and is most closely represented with Fairhope, AL, which is the measuring stick in this area. He added that due to work of Angela Wood, Rosealee Bartley and Anthony Vitale, Picayune has made great strides.

L-R: Anthony Vitale, Eric Morris, Angela Wood , Rosealee Bartley, Mayor Ed Pinero, and Daryl Smith.

Also at the meeting, the city officially accepted the 6 x 12 utility trailer that came from a grant from the Keep Mississippi Beautiful program. Christy Goss said the city plans to put the trailer to use on November 29 at 2:00 p.m. using it to pickup trash around downtown to demonstrate the amount of trash it can hold. Goss also said the trailer will be used for activities beyond trash collection such as holding flowers and plants for deployment by the city workers as well as other needs.

The council approved two requests for Mississippi Power Company presented by Planning and Zoning Director Tom Milar. Milar explained that the property located at 600 West Canal. Mississippi Power Company had previously used the location for a bill payment office and general administration.

The first request was to approve a small subdivision request from Mississippi Power Company to realign property lines into two parcels; PPINs 23867 and 23883. The second request was to approve a zone change for PPIN 23867 from OP-1 Office Professional to C-2 Downtown Commercial which would then have both parcels zone the same.

Milar explained this change was due to action years ago that split the parcel into two parcels with two different zoning types, but this new action will make the whole property C-2 Commercial. Mississippi Power plans to either rent or sale the property or a portion of it going forward.

The council also approved a request to apply for an AIP Entitlement funds. Jonathan Hickman (pictured), representing the City Engineer’s office, said the city applied for 100 percent federal funding approximately two weeks ago. The entitlement funds are 90 percent federal, 5 percent state, and 5 percent city. These funds, if awarded, would be used just to do clearing of property near the south end of the airport that is causing issues. Hickman said this area is across the big ditch and if the money becomes available, the city could use it to maintain the property as well going forward. Hickman said the amount, if fully funded, would be $150,000.00. He told the council it would be about two months before they would know the outcome of the request.


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