Future location of Johnson house decided

The house that was the birthplace of blues legend Robert Johnson will soon have a new home. The Copiah County Board of Supervisors voted Friday to declare their intent to relocate the house to the lot behind the Heritage House, which is owned by the county and adjacent to the courthouse in downtown Hazlehurst.

The house was purchased by the county last year using grant funds on the condition that it be relocated. County officials have debated possible locations since then as they sought additional funding to move and secure the house, which is in a deteriorating condition.

Moving the house will not compromise the historical integrity of the bluesman’s birthplace as the  house is not currently in its original location. At the time Johnson was born, the house was located in Hazlehurst near the intersection of Interstate 55 and Highway 28. The house was relocated to a more rural location several decades ago.

The county has received a $40,000 donation to be used to secure and move the house, reported Janet Schriver, county cultural affairs director. More funds should be available in May to further the development of the house as a tourist attraction.

Schriver also updated the board on grants from Juvenile Justice and other sources that will expand the county’s programs for youth. Plans are in the works to offer parenting classes in connection with Youth Court.

The blues class for citizens interested in learning more about the history and preservation of this unique cultural heritage  continues at the Heritage House on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m.

BRIDGE BIDS

Bids were received for the Broome Road bridge project. The board accepted the low bid of Dozer Inc. for $386,852.10 on the recommendation of the state engineer. The bid was 4.2% below the state’s estimate for the project. Four bids were received.

OTHER BUSINESS

The board approved purchases using Homeland Security grant funds on the emergency management director’s recommendation, including items to improve security at the District’s Attorney’s office, courthouse, and other court facilities.

The purchase of a bigger battery backup for the county’s server was authorized.

Increases and corrections to the tax rolls were routinely approved.

The portion of Haley Lane still a public road was renamed to Fennell Lane. The portion of Haley Lane that has been closed will still be called Haley Lane.

S&S Dragline’s quote of $29,370 for repairs to Carter Hill Road was accepted. Repairs will proceed when slabs and funds are avialable.

Payment to S&S for repairs to the Lake Copiah Road bridge was authorized for $6400.

School bus turnarounds were routinely approved.

Paperwork on the rubbish pits permits was briefly discussed with the county engineer.

The board toured the former Allen house with Schriver to discuss the location of future parenting classes and work needed on the building.

The board will meet again on Monday, February 25, at 9 a.m.

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