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New 4-H, Extension building still without phone service


Bob Calvert

Bob Calvert



Slim Smith



Plans for the Lowndes County 4-H chapter and the county's Mississippi State University Extension Service offices are on hold -- literally. 


County Engineer Bob Calvert told supervisors at Wednesday's board meeting that a walk-through of the new office building, part of a proposed $2.5 million horse-park facility, revealed the building is close to "move-in" status, with one exception. 


"AT&T hasn't put in the phone service yet," Calvert said. "And really, there's not much point in moving in until you get phone service. You can't run your computers or anything." 


Calvert said the county filed an order for service on Dec. 1.  


"They told us it was a 90-day process," Calvert said. "But they are saying they didn't see the request, so now it's a matter of how long it will take. There are a few minor punch-list items left, but those should be addressed pretty quick. The biggest hold up will be the phone service." 


County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said he has been in communication with AT&T since late January. 


"We're continuing to talk to them to try to get this resolved as soon as possible," Billingsley said. 


The facility, which the state is funding, will eventually include an arena and open-air pavilion, although county officials are waiting on more state funding to cover the estimated cost of $1 million. The Legislature appropriated $1.6 million over the past two years to cover the cost of roads/infrastructure and building of the 5,000-square foot office/meeting room building.  


The horse park is located on 22 acres on Tom Rose Road, just south of Highway 82. 


Most of the board meeting was devoted to routine business, including appointments to four boards and re-opening the nomination process for another board. 


Members of the four boards were re-appointments, with no other applicants. 


Justin Shelton (District 4) and Woody Jones (District 5) were re-appointed to the Lowndes County Port Authority board, while Billingsley was re-appointed to the Community Counseling board, Tommy Johnson was re-appointed to the Tennessee River Valley Water Management District board and Jeff Hayes (District 1) was re-appointed to the E-911 board. 


Two openings remain on the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library board, Billingsley said. 


"We didn't have any new applicants for those positions, which are in Districts 2 and 3," Billingsley said. "The two people who are currently in those positions can't re-apply because they've termed out. They can only serve two terms.  


"All we can do is re-open the application process," he added. "Hopefully, we'll get some applicants."


Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]



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