Louisville St. project adds amenities

More than half a mile of a pedestrian-heavy street will become safer for all its travelers next year.
Construction improvements to the portion of Louisville Street from Yellowjacket Drive to Lynn Lane will calm traffic by adding a 12-foot wide turn lane and decrease the other two lanes to 11 feet, said Aaron McNeal, engineer for Neel Shaffer Inc., during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.
Plans from the firm also include bike lanes on both sides of the road and sidewalk that could be as wide as 8 feet on the west side of the street. City staff and members of the public wanted sidewalks on both sides, but right-of-way constraints and budget limits would delay construction, McNeal said.
The improved street will have crosswalks on the intersections and a corner frequently crossed by students of Starkville High School, which is located close to the proposed area.
“Mid-block crossings give the pedestrian a false sense of security,” McNeal told members of the board, who asked why his design did not include more sidewalks.
Along with its close proximity to businesses and a public school, the south end of Louisville Street also opens to many neighborhoods, according to a study by the city’s engineer, Ed Kemp, and McNeal.
“A lot of folks live out there,” said Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas.
Officials expect construction of the street to begin in August 2011, but hope for a nearer start date due to possible inconveniences for back-to-school students.
“We’re going to try to trim that schedule any way we can,” said City Engineer Edward Kemp.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation, awarded the City of Starkville a $1.2 million grant for the project and requires more preliminary work than projects funded solely by the city, which will match the grant with about $240,000.
McNeal will make one more presentation to the board before the City of Starkville advertises for bids.
“We’ve gone through the conceptual design up to this point,” he said.

Middleton recoups public investment

A renovated shopping center has made a positive economic impact on the city and Oktibbeha County, Starkville’s bond attorney said.
Randy Wall of Watkins Ludlam Winter and Stennis reported that the first phase of tax increment financing (TIF) bonds issued for the Middleton Marketplace on Highway 12 were based on incremental funds increases by sales tax limited to the business district.
The board passed a resolution to deliver TIF bonds to developers of the 11-acre property to help pay for necessary infrastructure if they delivered a profitable shopping center and improved the aesthetics of the area.
This year’s phase of TIF bonds from the city will be up to $2.1 million.
Oktibbeha County passed a similar resolution to raise money for the Middleton complex

Other business

In other business Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen also approved the following:
• The closing of Main Street for the PumpkinPalooza from on Oct. 29 from 4 to 9 p.m.
• A resolution authorizing and directing the issuance of tax increment financing (TIF) revenue bonds, Series 2010, amounting to a maximum of $2.1 million.
• Acceptance of the lowest bid of $107,036.92 for seal coat, taxiways and ramps at George M. Bryan Field.
• All claims as of Oct. 14.
• The report of receipts and expenditures for the period ending Sept. 30.
• The municipal compliance questionnaire.
• The city’s 2011 list of unmarked cars.
• Authorization to record in the city’s minutes the completion of certified training for municipal court clerk Debra Wood.
• Advertising for a new source of supply for the period starting Jan. 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2011.
• The new electric power contract with Flexsteel Industries.
• The Louisville Street widening conceptual design and continuation of its final design.
• Hiring Kierra Gardner to fill the vacant position of radio operator and records clerk for the police department.
• Advertising to fill the vacant position of captain in the Fire Department and to fill the subsequent promotional vacancies that will be created in the positions of lieutenant and sergeant.
• Advertising for the vacant position of collector in the Electric Department.
• An agreement with the e-commerce system add-on for Report Beam for vehicle accident reporting.
• Change order No. 2 in the construction contract with Stidham Construction to install the new 24-inch force main for $1,680.
• A request for Cobb Environmental and Technical Services to replace the ICCPS Anodes around the public services department’s underground fuel tanks in the amount of $5,706.
• A notice to proceed with Brent Engineering for surveying and design work needed to provide sewer services to 23 homes adjacent to the Deerfield Subdivision and 14 homes in the West Reed Road/Babylon Road area.
• Advertising for bids for herbicide treatment for the city’s landscape division.