July 12, 2014 10:58:23 PM
Starkville will begin to explore options Tuesday for fixing road surfaces within the Sportsplex's property that are showing significant tied to increasing traffic and the infrastructure's age.
Starkville Parks and Recreation is an autonomous branch of Starkville and has a level of control over its own capital improvements projects, but Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins instructed Parks Director Herman Peters during Thursday's budget committee meeting to prepare a presentation on potential fixes and costs for Tuesday's upcoming board of aldermen meeting.
At issue are about five areas on the Sportsplex's entrance road and parking lot that have developed significant pot holes. Peters said the washes became prominent after Mississippi State University began its in-town public transportation system, the SMART Route, but portions of the infrastructure itself has not seen significant upgrades or overlays, aldermen said, since it was constructed almost 20 years ago.
Peters said he spoke with City Engineer Edward Kemp and Mayor Parker Wiseman about possible repairs, but Perkins said he personally wanted to be apprised of solutions Tuesday.
"Our parks are highly used by our citizens, visitors and others. The Sportsplex, in particular, is a showcase for the city in that it is one that is seen by a lot of visitors. It certainly is the parks' complete authority and jurisdiction to oversee all property under its jurisdiction; however, what I'd like to see as soon as possible are some quotes and estimates for different options that we can utilize to get the park back to a very good condition where it will not have all the potholes and other types of dilapidated conditions that currently exist," Perkins said Thursday. "We are all in this together. I want to make sure I do my job to fully ensure the taxpayers' money is facilitated properly so it is utilized and maintained."
To fix the potholes, workers could dig out problematic areas and fill the holes with asphalt and place concrete in areas where traffic creates high-stress conditions. The fixes could come sometime this fall, Perkins hinted, as winter weather conditions are not favorable to infrastructure repairs.
Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard, who chairs the Starkville Audit and Budget Committee, said Starkville Park Commission could investigate moving bus stops closer to the area's main thoroughfare, Lynn Lane, to alleviate additional stresses on internal park infrastructure and reduce safety concerns with heavy buses continuously flowing through the property.
Last fall, Perkins spearheaded an effort to increase Parks' annual operating budget by about $96,000. Additional funding, Peters said, was used this year to tame the department's electric bills. In May 2013, The Dispatch reported that Parks owed about $180,000 for overdue fees and forecasted usage through the FY 2012-2013 year.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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