by Joe Buck Coates
The nearly half-million dollar grant that was awarded to the city by Central Mississippi Planning and Development District and that will be used to upgrade, repair and replace out-dated lines in parts of wards 2, 3, and 4 is another big step in re-modernizing the infrastructure of Hazlehurst.
Ask any of the residents of the Massengill Street–Autumn Street–Nelson Drive area of eastern part of the city, and they will tell you that major work on their area has been a long time coming. Photos in this week’s paper from last Tuesday’s torrential downpours that caused flash flooding in the area and major sewer line back-ups are only the latest examples of what residents have been dealing with. Hopefully, their problems will be solved with the work over the next few months.
The area also stands a good chance to land a Hazardous Mitigation grant to address drainage issues. A similar grant was awarded to the town of Wesson recently for virtually the same type of drainage problems. Every bit will help the residents in the area and the town as a whole. Combined with the city’s intention to update zoning and land use ordinances, the psychological effect is far reaching. One can sense that better days lie ahead for Hazlehurst.
The entire city board of Hazlehurst, Mayor Henry Banks, and especially Ward 3 alderman Shirley Sandifer, have proven that by working together for the common good, big problems can be solved–even if they can be tackled only one at a time. You see, each ward has their own acute problem areas–whether they be flooding and/or sewage line issues, potholes on streets, illegal trash dumps, neighborhood blight, older trees threatening utilities or poor drainage areas. Undoubtedly, each one will be addressed and, hopefully, more grants will become available to help fund the work that must be done on each. The main goal should remain that the board and the mayor work together to address each issue by critical priority and funding opportunity–in much the same fashion as the aforementioned.
The city of Hazlehurst needs to remain a modern city that is a hub of government, cultural and retail activity. The area has much to proud of. Hazlehurst is a nice little town with residents who care about its beauty, its governance and its standing with other similar communities. Cultural opportunities exist here that don’t in some areas. In short, residents enjoy a very high quality of life. Continued cooperation and action by the board and the mayor on projects like the one in the Massengill Street area is necessary for the sustenance of the city.