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Weathers granted 30-day extension for CalStar work


County administrator Ralph Billingsley

County administrator Ralph Billingsley



Nathan Gregory



It will likely be late next month before construction on the facility that will house CalStar Products is substantially complete. 


Lowndes County supervisors granted a 30-day extension to Weathers Construction to have the building ready for operation. The company now has until the end of May. County Administrator Ralph Billingsley and grant administrator George Crawford of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District said weather-related issues necessitated extra time to complete the project. 


CalStar Products is a sustainable masonry manufacturing company based out of Racine, Wis., that makes bricks, pavers and other building products.  


Last year, supervisors used more than $6 million in loans from the Mississippi Development Authority and Community Development Block Grant funds to purchase a 23-acre land parcel near the Golden Triangle Industrial Park and assist financially with facility construction, while CalStar sought $5 million in debt financing from lenders to complete the project. CalStar took ownership of the 100,000-square-foot building shell there and Weathers Construction's $3,113,415 bid was accepted in October to renovate the shell and convert it into a manufacturing plant. 


The plant will have 17 employees when it opens and within three years has to employ 58, according to a contract between CalStar and Lowndes County. CalStar officials said last year that the plant will improve availability for masonry customers in the South.  




Road surfacing bids accepted 


Supervisors also accepted bids from two contractors to make improvements to county roads during this year's construction season. Kimes & Stone Construction out of Booneville was awarded the contract for chip sealing and double bituminous surface treatment projects for a total of $564,753, while locally-based Falcon Contracting was awarded a $21,288.80 contract for milling. 


According to the road improvements plan supervisors passed in January, portions, if not all, of the following 19 county roads will be resealed: Old Honnoll Mill, Stanley Road, Odom Road, Williams Road, Renon Road, Kidd Road, Egger Springs Road, Stinson Creek Road, Swartz Drive, Victor Road, Priscilla Circle, Lacy Road, Hardy Billups Road, Wicks Road, Whispering Pines, Curtis Chapel Road, Evans Road, Mount Ariery Church Road and West Bank Access Road. 


Seven gravel roads will receive double bituminous surface treatment, meaning crews will remove gravel from the unpaved roads and prepare a dirt surface so they can apply two layers of tar and rock on top of each other. Taylor Rae Lane, McKenzie Drive, Brenda's Way, Marilyn's Place, Colby Lane, West Minnie Vaughn Road and Barnett Circle are on that list.  


Eight roads in the county will be milled. Milling is the process of grinding off the top layer of asphalt on a road and replacing it with a new surface. The roads slated to be milled are Lawrence Street, Hunnington Drive, Sir Henry Drive, Fountaindale Drive, Old Swan Lane, Kings Path, Monticello Circle and Oxford Street.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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