February 18, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE â€" Starkville residents fed up with the poor condition of city streets and drainage systems will find some welcome relief this year as the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday took several steps forward in a multimillion dollar improvement project.
The board approved a resolution authorizing and directing the city to issue up to $3 million in general obligation bonds for the infrastructure improvements, while giving the next group of aldermen authority to issue up to $3 million more for additional work. The board in January voted in favor of the plan, but needed to advertise the resolution in the time since then before approving it on Tuesday.
Aldermen also agreed on a 10-year payoff plan for the bond at roughly $365,000 annually, and voted to hire bond attorney Randy Wall, of Watkins, Ludlam, Winter and Stennis, to assist with the project. Additionally, aldermen approved a list of roads the improvement project will target in the upcoming construction season.
City engineer Edward Kemp has devised a 4-year road plan to prioritize projects based on the amount of work needed and the projectâ€™s urgency. When issued, the $3 million in bond money will be used for roughly nine miles of roadway improvement projects Kemp has deemed â€œPriority 1.â€
Priority 1 projects need some of the most work. Other city roads are in similar condition, but are â€œas bad as theyâ€™re going to getâ€ and have been dropped to lower priorities, he said.
Of the Priority 1 projects, which need an estimated $1,758,000 worth of work, South Montgomery Street will see a significant portion of the construction. Patching, overlaying and striping will begin at Highway 182 and extend across Highway 12 to Locksley Way, then resume from Lynn Lane to Academy Road. The South Montgomery Street improvements will cost the city roughly $300,000.
Academy Road also will see significant work as patching, overlaying and striping are planned from Louisville Street to South Montgomery. The Academy Road work will cost an estimated $124,000.
Among dozens of other road projects, Louisville Street will receive roughly $93,500 worth of patching, overlaying and striping from Greensboro Street to Academy Road.
Pat Station Road
The bond money also will be used to pay for the first half of the Pat Station Road extension. Plans call to extend Pat Station Road from North Montgomery Street to Old West Point Road at a cost of $1,175,000, though the city only will have to provide $485,000 in matching funds. Half of those matching funds, or roughly $242,500, will be spent this year on engineering, surveying and other costs, Kemp said. The second half would be paid in 2010 if and when the next board approves the additional $3 million in bonds.
For residents who enjoy spending time on two wheels, the city plans to spend a portion of the bond money on the Lynn Lane multiuse path, which would connect McKee Park with Mississippi State University. The roughly $1.5 million project was put on hold this fall when it was discovered the cityâ€™s $315,000 match had to be a monetary contribution, not in-kind services as previously thought.
The Lynn Lane project now appears to be back on track as the city plans to pay the first half of its match, or nearly $158,000, in the coming year. The second half would be paid in 2010.
Additionally, the city moved the Reed Road widening project up to a Priority 1 â€" a portion of it previously was a Priority 2 â€" and plan to begin engineering and survey work there, as well. The road is heavily traveled but is only 24 feet wide and doesnâ€™t have a shoulder, which makes it nearly impossible for vehicles to pull over when an emergency responder passes.
â€œI refer to Reed Road as an accident waiting to happen,â€ said Ward 7 Alderwoman Janette Self, who has pushed relentlessly for improvements to the thoroughfare.
While the city plans to use all $3 million for the improvements this year, the board already has budgeted more than $1 million from its general fund for infrastructure work. With more than $4 million available, the remaining funds would be used to complete 1/3 or more of the cityâ€™s drainage improvement projects recommended by Kemp, though a list of locations was not available.