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Year Will Close With Multiple Upper Floor Renovations Underway On Main

By David Howell


WATER VALLEY – Main Street Manager Mickey Howley reported the year will end with substantial work nearing completion on the upper floors of multiple buildings in the town’s historic district. Speaking at the monthly city meeting on  Dec. 6, he pointed to work underway at 16 South Main Street, the building that formerly housed Between Friends, to renovate the upstairs for offices. He also said work was nearing completing at 20 South Main for upper floor apartments.

“This is something Main Street has been pushing for a while and it was a strong goal for 2016, to work on upper floors,” Howley explained. He also cited work at Terry Warren’s buildings located at 305 and 307 North Main, including structural work for the upper floors.  

“Most of the ground floors now are in use, and if they are not in use they are available for use and that always wasn’t the case,” Howley said about Main Street buildings. “If you have downtown commercial real estate, the best impact to the community is if you can use every square foot of your historic commercial space and that includes upper floors.”

Howley projected that the push for upper floor use in 2017 would remain a prominent goal for Main Street, noting there are thousands of upper floor square feet not in use on Main Street. 

He explained that one catalyst for the work in 2016 was the re-upping of historic state tax credits passed in the 2016 Legislative Session.

“The state tax credit has lapsed and state legislatures saw fit, in a very topsy-turvy session, to do the right thing for historic tax credits. They used this town as an example of where these small incentives can really help downtown building owners,” he added. 

Aldermen heard Howley’s report and handled other routine business during the Dec. 6 meeting and during a follow-up meeting on Dec. 8. Actions including:

• Selected Willis Engineering as the engineering firm for a $600,000 sewage project that will get underway in 2017.  The project will be funded from two grants, $300,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $300,000 from a Community Development Block Grant funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city will provide $20,000 in matching funds or in-kind work as part of the grant requirement. The money is earmarked for the continued work on a main sewage trunk line, described as an aging concrete line that is deteriorating. 

“We can’t actually make the award until we get the environmental clearance, which is expected to be completed around the start of the new year,” Mayor Larry Hart added about the project.

• Approved the holiday schedule for the upcoming holidays. Aldermen approved Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26, for Christmas and Monday, January 2 for New Year’s.

• Adopted a spill prevention control and counter measure plan for the fuel farm at the municipal airport.  

“Basically saying we will keep any spills cleaned up,” Hart explained about the paperwork, which is a requirement for the grant funded fuel tank at the airport.

• Approved a bid from Sunbelt Fire Company totaling $35,293.44 for six SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) tanks for Water Valley Fire Department.  

“They have all kind of paraphernalia that goes with it, communications, breathing systems, recharging systems and other equipment,” Hart explained.

Sunbelt’s bid was several thousand dollars higher than a second bid, but aldermen approved the bid because the air tanks are compatible with the tanks used at the surrounding county departments.

Hart also said the purchased will be funded from money that comes from the state earmarked for fire protection. 

• Voted to enter executive session at the close of the brief meeting on Dec. 6 to meet with Grenada attorney Reid Stanford in connection with a potential lawsuit concerning the decades-old chemical spill at the former Colt Industries/Holley Carbu-retor site. 

Speaking after the meeting, Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart reported aldermen did not take any action during executive session on the matter. Both Yalobusha County and Yalobusha Health Services, as well as a number of private landowners have signed on with a group of plaintiff attorneys. Among attorneys involved in the case are Liston and Deas, Texas environmental firm Ted B. Lyon and Associates, Southaven attorney Craig Treadway and Crow Martin, LLC.

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