News Briefs

Lake Harbour Under Way

Work is under way on Lake Harbour extension now that two contracts have been issued to tackle the 18-month project.

Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee expects the project to be complete late next year.

McGee also projects the new road to have an economic impact on the city in addition to improving traffic flow.

“With Colony Park Boulevard now open and with Lake Harbour extension to be open, that’s going to really improve the east/west traffic and give them a better route from Highland Colony Parkway to Highway 51 and on Lake Harbour Drive, all the way to Rankin County,” Mayor McGee said.

Hemphill Construction got the contract to install a new box culvert under the railroad on Purple Creek.

“This is something the railroad required from the city to cross the railroad with the new road,” McGee said.

Once the box culvert is delivered and the construction crew is in place, they have a 24-hour period to shut the railroad down to complete the installation.

That contract began March 8, according to McGee. The box culvert is being manufactured, and the city is awaiting its delivery.

This part of the project is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Eutaw Construction got the contract for the road and bridge part of the project, which will extend from Highway 51 to Highland Colony Parkway.

“Their contract time has not started yet, but I think you will start to see some activity pretty soon with them working on erosion control,” McGee said.

The contract for the road project will cost $14 million, but the total project cost with right-of-way acquisition, moving utilities and more brings the cost to $22 to 23 million.

McGee said the new road will also help with the city’s goals for West Jackson Street.

“That’s going to remove traffic off of Jackson Street, which is what our goal has been,” McGee said. “We want to turn Jackson Street into more of a downtown street and do some things to make it more user-friendly for pedestrians and get some of that through traffic off of it.”

With improved traffic flow between Highland Colony Parkway to Highway 51 comes increased access to local businesses, which McGee believes will impact the city’s economy.

“We think that will help businesses, and I think Lake Harbour extension is going to be good for the economy because it will be easier for people to get back and forth from Northpark Mall and Renaissance and all those areas,” McGee said.

“And of course, Colony Park Boulevard is already making it easier to get to the Township. There is a lot of opportunity there to promote or help the economy, I believe.”



More Trails for R’land

The city of Ridgeland is continuing its mission of becoming more walking, running and cycling friendly.

Mayor Gene McGee said their ultimate goal is to loop all the existing trails throughout the city together so that runners, walkers and cyclists have more options.

At a recent meeting of the board of aldermen, the board discussed seeking two grants, which would fund two more trail projects in the city.

The city is seeking funding from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to construct a multi-use trail at Copper Ridge to allow access to the trailhead off Rice Road.

“That would allow the people in Copper Ridge and another subdivision close by safe access to the multi-use trials without having to get on Lake Harbour Drive,” McGee said.

They are also seeking a grant from the Jackson Metropolitan Planning Organization to fund a 10-foot wide, paved multi-use path along McClellan Drive to extend the recently completed path from Ridgeland Tennis Center to the proposed east parking lot at Wolcott Park.

“If we get the grant for McLellan, Colony Park Boulevard has already got a multi-use trail on it, so it would connect and get it all the way down to Wolcott Park, which would be a nice addition to the area to keep people from walking down the road when they go to baseball games,” McGee said.

Both projects are three-tenths of a mile long.

There is also a multi-use trail under construction on East Jackson Street from Highway 51 to Trace Ridge subdivision.

“We have two goals, one we are trying to connect every subdivision with a safe multi-use trail so that you won’t have to get out on the main road to get access,” McGee said. “The other thing is to promote tourism. People are coming to Ridgeland to have events and things, which helps the economy. Last board meeting, the board approved five events that involved the trails.”

“We’re becoming known as the area for running and cycling,” McGee added.

Lake Harbour extension will also have a multi-use trail that will extend to Highland Colony Parkway.

Eventually, the city will connect that trail to the Natchez Trace, according to McGee.



New Principal at RHS

Keith A. Fennell has been named the next principal of Ridgeland High School. Fennell brings 22 years of experience in education to the position, 18 of which have been in administration.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Madison County and the Ridgeland community as Principal of Ridgeland High School,” said Fennell, who served as principal of Starkville High School from 2009 to 2014 prior to joining Jackson State University. His love of secondary education led him back to the high school environment, serving as assistant principal at Northwest Rankin High School. He plans to take the lead at Ridgeland High School beginning June 1.

“We are absolutely delighted that Mr. Fennell is joining the team at Madison County Schools,” said Madison County Schools Superintendent Kimber Halliburton. “His proven track record of leadership and developing the potential of students and faculty will be a great asset to Ridgeland. We look forward to watching Ridgeland High School continue to build on its success under the leadership of Mr. Fennell.”

“Students need to be happy, healthy and safe to develop a sense of pride that will motivate them to focus on academics and inspire them to perform at their highest potential,” said Fennell. “Our most important responsibility is to protect and advocate for our students. I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the faculty, staff and students of RHS and the Ridgeland community,” said Fennell.

Fennell joins Madison County Schools following Principal Tim Dowdy’s retirement from education earlier this year and the interim leadership of Assistant Principal Cody Zumbro.




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