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City discusses three projects for BP funding

City Manager Jim Luke and Parks & Recreation Director Trevor Adam made their case for much needed improvements to Friendship Park. Director Adam would like to add new parking at the park, artificial turf for the girls softball fields, and restroom facilities at the T-ball fields. Luke is looking to replace all the old playground equipment at the Kid’s Kingdom play area with new, modern equipment, which would also be ADA compliant.

The estimated cost for the Friendship Park improvements would be approximately $1.8 million. The funding from BP is structured to cover 80% of the total cost of an approved project with the remaining 20% to be paid for by the City which would come to roughly $360,000.

The two other projects the Council wishes to push forward are the East Jerusalem Road improvement and the Wal Mart access road roundabout.

The East Jerusalem Road project would be built as a two lane road, but designed as a 4 lane, to allow for infrastructure such as gas and water lines to be placed correctly if future expansion to 4 lane becomes necessary. This roadway would lead to a property currently owned by Resurrection Ministry that would open up development of the property as well other land adjacent to that property and around the perimeter of the Friendship Park wrapping back around to Highway 11 just south of the city limits. The East Jerusalem project would cost approximately $1,900,000 with the city’s 20% approximately $380,000.

The Wal-Mart Road improvement project would be aimed at a reduced traffic build-up in the area by installing a roundabout at the Ridge Road intersection just south of Highway 43 South (Memorial Blvd). City Engineer Jonathan Hickman presented a plan to members of the Council that also showed how the proposed new roundabout would allow access to businesses currently not accessible from the current layout including Home Depot. The Wal Mart Road roundabout project would cost $3,500,000 with the city’s 20% approximately $700,000.

The Council will have to approve each project during a regularly scheduled meeting prior to submitting each project for BP funding consideration. The BP money is administered by Mississippi Development Authority, acting on advice from the advisory board for the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund. The final decision will be in the hands of the legislature.



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