Consent Decree Update
Jackson will pay for consent decree program management, at least through April, following a recent vote by the Jackson City Council. Recently, the council approved extending its contract with Burns & McDonnell through April. The extension will cost $1.4 million and will be paid for with one-percent infrastructure tax funds.
The firm will aid in the city’s efforts to renegotiate its sewer consent decree with the EPA, submit quarterly, semi-annual and annual compliance reports and provide staff augmentation for the Department of Public Works.
Public Works Director Robert Miller said the city had two options when extending the contract: scale extending the contract for a full fiscal year and scaling back the scope of work or extending the contract for seven months and doing the “full measure of activities.”
“We’re doing the full measure of activities for seven months,” he said. Miller told the council he was unsure how the remaining five months would be funded.
Much of the work will be done out of Burns & McDonnell’s Kansas City, Mo. office, with local support being provided by Waggoner Engineering and AJA Consultants.
Previously, Burns had an office in the Electric Building downtown. However, Burns left the office after program management services were scaled back last year as a result of the city’s water crisis.
Because of billing problems, the city wasn’t bringing in enough water revenues to cover consulting costs.
Typically, water and sewer contracts are funded by water/sewer revenues, rather than other sources.
Miller urged the council to approve the measure, saying program management is needed as the city works to renegotiate decree terms with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Under terms of the 2012 decree, Jackson must make more than $900 million in upgrades to its sewer system to bring it into compliance with federal water quality laws. The city had 17.5 years to complete the work.
The Lumumba administration is now hoping to renegotiate terms of the decree, in part, to extend the amount of time it has to complete the required improvements.
Giant Salvinia Rediscovered
After a year of fighting the invasive plant that has taken up residence in the Pelahatchie Bay of Barnett Reservoir, it seems the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) is back to the drawing board as Giant Salvinia was rediscovered in the water where it was first found in October 2018.
PRVWSD, along with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and Mississippi State University, have been working to eradicate the plant since it was discovered.
The emergency response plan included blocking Pelahatchie Bay off from the rest of the lake, thousands of dollars worth of spraying campaigns, burning, lowering the water level, introducing boat washing stations, public awareness campaigns and more.
Since no live Giant Salvinia had been detected since May, the PRVWSD board voted to return the lake level to normal to expose live plant matter if any was present.
“Raising the lake back to normal levels this week did exactly what it was designed to do, help us determine if any Salvinia remained in the Bay by exposing it,” PRVWSD General Manager John Sigman said in a release from the Barnett Reservoir.
However, on the first day of assessment, Giant Salvinia was found in one area. Steps have been taken since the plant was rediscovered, including aerial spraying and another 3,000 feet of boom added to increase containment.
On October 17, the board voted to allow areas of the Bay to reopen to boating. However, due to the presence of Giant Salvinia, the decision was reversed.
According to PRVWSD officials, “all areas north of the main Pelahatchie Bay boat channel from the A-Pole to Spring Branch will remain closed, and all areas north of a buoy line from the A-Pole to the first marker pole of the boat channel along Northshore Causeway are closed. These are the same boundaries established in March when the Bay reopened to boating.”
The lake level will remain at 297.5 for another month so that the task force can continue to monitor the plant.
New Fondren Project
A new entertainment project was recently announced for the Fondren area. Mississippi restaurateur Robert St. John will open Ed’s Burger Joint and, along with his partners, will reopen the Capri Theatre.
Adjacent to the Capri, the group is opening a bowling alley with a restaurant and two bars.
The entertain district will include:
A refurbishment of the historic Capri, offering a 170-seat luxury theater with a 40 foot screen for movie viewing as well as live entertainment capabilities;
Highball Lanes, offering a 10 lane bowling alley, boutique games, and a full service restaurant and cocktail bar;
The Pearl, an upscale tiki bar featuring classic tiki cocktails and small plates;
The former gas station that housed Butterfly Yoga will be completely modified and expanded to accommodate Ed’s Burger Joint.
The other businesses will be located in existing buildings in the Fondren strip, which will be rehabilitated to meet the standards for historic renovations. The project will also include enhanced parking behind the State Street development. “Fondren is already a thriving destination for shopping and dining, and this development will strengthen its reputation as a gathering spot, with some 30,000 square feet of entertainment and dining options,” said St. John.
Construction is set to begin in fourth quarter 2019, with completion in third quarter 2020. Developers estimate that the $13 million project will result in 80 full time jobs and 45 part-time jobs across the four businesses.
New Diamond Award
City of Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler recently announced the establishment of The City Of Madison Diamond Award. The award is designed to honor and celebrate individuals and organizations that have left their mark on Madison in a significant way.
The city of Madison has been recognized by national and international media, including USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and Southern Living as one of the safest model communities in America.
“Madison is about quality and exceeding expectations on every level,” says Mayor Butler. “The overwhelming growth of the City of Madison from a sleepy farming community to one of the most celebrated cities in the South is due in no small way to the individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in sharing a common vision toward the future.”
In considering the first recipient for The City Of Madison Diamond Award it became increasingly important that the honoree reflect the values inherent with the esthetic and economic vision shared by the residences of Madison and city planners, according to Mayor Butler.
“With that we are proud to name Reunion, Inc. as the recipient of the first City Of Madison Diamond Award. Reunion’s emphasis on family through the creation of properties that offer a healthy lifestyle and amenities is reflective of what draws families together.” The development is the vision of Kristie and David Nutt.
A formal presentation will be made in the coming weeks.