February 19, 2013 9:53:43 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins will ask Starkville representatives to consider a more comprehensive Carver Drive drainage solution during tonight's 5:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall.
Aldermen will consider rescinding a June order which approved $175,000 for channel restoration efforts and then could consider replacing that project with one that would concrete the bottom and sides of the Carver Drive ditch.
Perkins said funding appropriated for channel restoration would be utilized by the city for concreting efforts. City Engineer Edward Kemp did not have a cost estimate for the project when contacted by The Dispatch, but Perkins said the city should only have to pay for concrete if it utilizes its own staff for the bulk of the work.
Perkins, a long-time supporter of plans which would pipe and cover the entirety of the ditch, said this compromise between open-channel restoration and more expensive measures would solve many of the health and quality of life issues to which Carver Drive residents have been exposed for years.
"Residents have been dealing with flooding, odors and other health-related issues for many, many years. They are in desperate need for relief," he said. "Hopefully, the board will take action and finalize this matter. Once legislative action is agreed upon, the city should continue to monitor the project and make sure it is implemented correctly. We want to move forward with this action with all deliberate speed as weather permits. We've been debating and discussing this issue too long."
If passed, Perkins said the alternate plan would bring quick and necessary relief to residents. Other areas in Starkville, including White Drive, Critz Street, Edgewood Street, Woodcrest Drive, Windsor Road and Seville Place, have received similar ditch-concreting projects, he said.
"I have been a very firm supporter of other wards and have supported matters that promote quality of life, safety and welfare. I'm respectively and humbly requesting my colleagues to please support this measure. It would be a great statement by Starkville to show how we're committed to solving this long-standing request," Perkins said. "We're just asking for the same treatment (as other wards) - nothing more, nothing less."
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said she applauds Perkins for finding a project compromise that is acceptable to his constituents and is manageable from a city standpoint.
Mayor Parker Wiseman cast a tie-breaking vote in June which allowed the city to pursue FEMA approval for the channel restoration project. Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey, Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas and Sistrunk voted in favor of the action, while Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn and Perkins cast opposing votes. Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker was absent from the vote.
Aldermen who voted for channel restoration instead of piping and covering the Carver Drive ditch cited cost issues surrounding the more comprehensive project.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch