Hemphill awarded contract for Fondren streetscape project

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Seven years later, the Fondren streetscape project seems like it’s actually going to happen.

Last week, the Jackson City Council approved hiring Hemphill Construction to do the work.

Construction is expected to begin in two months, Engineering Manager Charles Williams told the council.

“(This is) basically landscaping, ADA improvement work around the Fondren area … the grant was initiated back in 2010 from the (Mississippi) Department of Transportation and the city has been working on it for about seven years,” he said.

The project is expected cost around $2.7 million and includes making pedestrian improvements in the Fondren Business District, which runs along Old Canton Road, North State Street, Fondren Avenue, Duling Avenue and Morgan Place.

The main work calls for rebuilding sidewalks to make them more pedestrian-friendly and bringing them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Portions of North State Street will also be reduced, while bike lanes will be added.

The project is being funded in large part with a $2 million federal grant. The city’s match is between $600,000 and $700,000.

“I am very excited it has finally reached this point … (This) will be a beautiful addition in the Fondren area, which is a thriving business district,” Ward Seven Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay said.

The contract was approved with a 5-1 vote, both Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote and Lindsay voted in favor of it. Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes was the lone holdout.