By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Eupora leaders have voted to apply for a street improvement grant but are awaiting more information before developing the scope of work.
Planner George Crawford of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District met with Mayor Tommy Lott and the Board of Aldermen concerning the grant for small municipalities on June 3.
The 100 percent grant of up to $150,000 is available from the Mississippi Development Authority for street improvements. Alderman-at-large and Mayor-elect Dan Burchfield said the city would be able to add $12,500 to the grant from 1 mill the city previously levied for street resurfacing.
The board passed a resolution authorizing the GTPDD to prepare and submit the grant pre-application on behalf of the city. Aldermen also authorized Calvert-Spradling engineering firm to report back to the board as soon as possible with its best recommendation and budget for repaving Westwood Park, South Allen and Waterworks Road, which top the city’s list for resurfacing.
Engineer John Freeman has since provided the city with preliminary cost estimates for overlaying the streets, which the mayor and board discussed during a special called meeting Tuesday morning. Lott said the board needed to define the scope of work for the grant pre-application, which is due June 28.
These are Freeman’s cost estimates for each street, including engineering fees and contingencies: Westwood Park, $150,000; South Allen (from Adams Avenue to Hwy. 182), $193,000 and Waterworks Road (from curve to Walnut Avenue), $215,000. Lott emphasized that bids could be less.
Buster Duvall (Ward 3) recommended that the grant, if awarded, be used to resurface Waterworks Road because it is the most used of the three priority streets. He said the street has a significant amount of through traffic and not just residential However, Hank Flowers (Ward 4) insisted that the board had agreed in principle at its previous meeting that Westwood Park was first in line for overlaying, followed by South Allen and Waterworks Road.
“Westwood Park needs some repairs bad,” said Vickey Patterson of (Ward 1). “It’s ridiculous.”
Burchfield pointed out that no city property taxes are paid from Westwood Park. The public housing units there are under Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“I would hope … that we could talk with Region Four and our congressional delegation, and find money to overlay it,” he said, so that grant and city funds could be used for another street instead.
After being assured that the city would pursue federal funds for overlaying Westwood Park, Flowers said, “Then South Allen should be next — our first objective.”
Burchfield later said, “I don’t think we had a specific order.”
After further discussion, aldermen recessed without making a decision until an as-then undetermined date this week when Crawford and Freeman could meet with them to answer questions.
Billy Brister (Ward 2) was absent Tuesday.