Months after saying he would like to overhaul the city of Jackson’s state of emergency guidelines, Public Works Director Robert Miller is changing his strategy.
Late last year, Miller told the Sun he would like to modify the rules for declaring emergencies to allow the city to hire work crews more quickly in times of crisis.
Six months after taking over the department, though, he said the city ensure contractors are in place and ready to go to work through the use of term bids.
“It is not the city’s emergency declaration rules that need to be amended. Instead, we need to have unit price contacts/term bids in place so that we can begin work immediately under contract once an emergency has been identified,” he said.
“We are working to get those contracts in place now.”
Having term bids will allow the city to bypass the “time-consuming process of preparing bid specifications, receiving and evaluating bids, awarding ... contracts, and receiving subsequent (city) council approval because we will already have the contracts in place.”
Last year, it took the city weeks to get a contractor in place to address multiple sewer main breaks in Fondren, in part, because of bidding requirements under the city’s emergency declaration provisions. Term bids include a set price for work and supplies for a specific period of time.
The council still must sign off on term bids before the city can enter into contracts with the firms offering them.
Miller had planned to go to the council in April to ask for permission to enter into term bids with Hemphill Construction, Utility Constructors and Delta Constructors to perform “various” water and sewer projects.
However, he withdrew the requests, citing the city’s desire to bring on more local and minority-owned firms.
“I intend to bring those contract recommendations back to the city council after I have met with other local and minority-owned contractors to hear their concerns about barriers to entry in the marketplace,” Miller said.
More homes will be built in the city of Madison on Old Canton Road, north of Hoy Road.
Early last week, the Madison mayor and board of aldermen approved two final plats for Hartford and a third for Eastwood.
“Hartford, part 2A contains 14 lots in that section,” Public Works Director Joe Welch said. “Those lots average 45,000 square feet (a little more than one acre). The development contains about 12.75 acres.”
The minimum square footage is 3,000 square feet heated and cooled per home.
The same goes for part 3A, which contains 20 lots in 20.33 acres.
“They got 84,000 square feet (almost two acres) as the average lot size for 11 lots,” Welch said. “Twenty-eight thousand square feet (more than half an acre) is the average on the remaining nine lots there.”
Again, the minimum home square footage is 3,000, heated and cooled.
The company for both phases is Ashton Park Development LLC, with developer Tim Weaver.
For Eastwood, phase 2, the 30-acre development has 31 lots with a minimum of 3,000 square feet, heated and cooled.
“Average lots are 24,000 square feet (just more than half an acre).”
Ken Primos of KRB LLC is heading the development.
All three developments are expected to be built out within five to six months.
Once these phases are complete, Hartford will be built out, and Eastwood will have room for one more phase.
To Take Control
The Colony Park Boulevard project is making headway, meaning the city of Ridgeland will soon have control of Jackson Street.
Jackson Street was originally built under the control of the state by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).
With the construction of the east-west corridor, Colony Park Boulevard, Ridgeland made an agreement with MDOT to help with the project in exchange for Jackson Street.
“Jackson Street is under state control,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “Through an agreement with MDOT, as soon as Colony Park Boulevard is complete, they’re going to turn Jackson Street over to the city. Before they turn it over, they’re going to mill and overlay, fix the curbs and the sidewalk.”
The city also had to assist with the Colony Park Boulevard project, which will connect U.S. Highway 51 to I-55 and take traffic off Jackson Street. Ridgeland had to help move utilities, acquire rights of way and participate in financing for the project.
Jackson Street was built under MDOT’s jurisdiction, and this will be the first time the road will be under the city’s control.
“I don’t know how it happened,” McGee said. “When it was built, it was a state road. That was done before I was even mayor.”
Once the city has control of Jackson Street, officials will work to revitalize the Olde Towne area.
The Lake Harbour Drive extension project will also serve as another east-west corridor that will take even more traffic off Jackson Street, making it less vehicle-traveled and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, shoppers and foodies.
The Colony Park Boulevard should be complete this year.
“As soon as they get that complete, they’ll be doing the milling, overlaying, bringing (Jackson Street) up to standard, then will turn it over to us.”