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Last railroad spike driven here in 1858

Plans are in the works for a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the railroad, Hazlehurst Chamber Director Randall Day told the Board of Aldermen last week.

The last spike was driven in Hazlehurst on March 31, 1858. Construction came south from Canton and north from New Orleans, meeting in Hazlehurst. The first train carrying officials for the ceremony shot a cannon all the way from New Orleans, Day told the board.

The Chamber plans to unveil a monument during commemoration ceremonies on Monday, March 31.

A plaque for Byron Hidalgo Park will also be unveiled that day. The Chamber is paying for the monument and plaque through donations, not city funds, Day explained.

For more information call the Chamber office.


Jean Vanlandingham asked the board to consider extending the Christmas decorations in next year’s budget, adding an emphasis around the Depot that will be visible to train traffic. Aldermen replied that the city tries to add a bit every year. Vanlandingham agreed to assist the city officials in researching prices.

A business owner discussed a drainage problem with the board. Mayor Henry Banks instructed the street department to look into the matter.

The board made some changes to Water Department policies on director Lloyd Hilliard’s recommendation. Water rates will be reviewed every three years. Revisions to the subdivision policy were approved to require infrastructure improvements be done by a licensed engineer, with Alderman Frank Pickering voting nay. Fire hydrants will be flushed twice a year in April and October, and a fire hydrant policy was adopted. Hilliard advised that the Water Department scored 4.3 out of 5 on the most recent Health Department assessment. Updating these policies will help the city reach the highest score.

The Highway 28 sewer line needs a lift station at about $20,000 cost to provide service to retail water users in the area. Alderman Pickering added a stipulation that Waggoner Engineering be used on the project, resulting in a 3-2 vote with Shirley Sandifer and Frank Jones voting nay. The other aldermen objected to specifying the engineer, but voting for going ahead with the lift station so that retail development projects in the area would not be delayed.

An employee was hired in the sewer department.

A list of purchases was okayed for the Police Department using grant funds.

Aldermen discussed personnel in executive session, which resulted in the termination of two city employees.

The Hazlehurst Aldermen regularly meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

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