Headlines Cont. – 2/2/2007

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 2, 2007

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – February 2, 2007


New home construction improves look of Sardis
By Jason C. Mattox

Three new houses were recently completed in Sardis giving families better living conditions.

The houses were constructed with a federal grant that tears down homes in a state of disrepair.

"Our grant writer, Bill Coker, selected the homes based on condition and household income," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said.

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Under the terms of the grant, the old houses were torn down and new ones were built on the existing property.

"The homeowners owe nothing for the homes," Dye said. "This was a 100 percent grant that cost neither the city or the homeowners any money out of pocket."

One homeowner, Cordie Gee, who lives at 313 Hernando St., said she is extremely happy with her new home.

"I love my new house," she said. "The people that built it did a really good job, and they finished quicker than we thought they would."

Gee pointed out a few small problems with the home including a rusting sink.

"That is one of the reasons we keep 10 percent of the total project," the mayor said. "It means they have to come back during the first year and repair any problems the homeowners might encounter."

The other two new constructions were built at 312 Percyville St. and 311 Lincoln St. The homes belong to Birda Bowden and Geneva Thompson, respectively.

Dye said the original plan was to have the homeowners in their new homes by Christmas, but due to the weather, it was closer to the start of the new year.

Because all three homes belong to people over the age of 65, the city does not get property taxes.

"We won’t get the property taxes on the houses, but they have gone a long way to improve the appearance of the city, and that counts for a lot," Dye said.

Dye said construction will begin shortly on two additional homes if the city is able to secure additional funds to complete the fifth home.

"At this point we are about $18,000 short of the money it will take to finish the fifth house, but Coker seems to think we will be awarded the additional money," he said.

"If we are able to get the extra money, the construction on the two houses will begin in early February," the mayor added.

Sardis ditches drainage problems
By Jason C. Mattox

After years of encountering drainage and erosion problems along a pair of ditches, the City of Sardis, with the help of a grant from the Natural Resources and and Conservation Service (NRCS), has seemingly resolved the issues.

The biggest problem stemmed from Wild Dog Ditch near the baseball fields.

"We have been fighting drainage problems and erosion along that ditch for a number of years," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said. "We were able to secure a grant from the NRCS that helped us remedy that."

The grant was an 85/15 match in the amount of $408,000.

"The good thing about a grant like this is that we can use in-kind services like the labor and fuel costs to provide our match," Dye said.

The ditch was cleaned out, a silt fence installed and new riprap placed in the ditch to prevent further erosion.

"There were people in the city who were watching parts of their backyards fall off into the ditch," Dye said. "We had to do something before the problem was allowed to get any worse."

Dye said workers also re-routed the ditch to improve the ditch’s drainage.

"It took a lot of work, but we have finished about 1,200 feet of the ditch," he said. "We still have another 600 feet, but we have grant money remaining to pay for it."

The other ditch causing problems is located behind North Panola High School just off Percyville Street.

"That ditch was stopped up and just wasn’t running at all," Dye said. "The culvert they had in there was too small to handle the amount of water the ditch would take on during a good rain."
The mayor said the problematic culvert was four feet.

"When we got a good rain, the water would spill over into the parking area of New Rock Hill Church," he said.

The city dug out the ditch and installed an eight-foot culvert.

"We knew a culvert of that size would open up the ditch and allow for a better drainage solution," Dye said. "Both of these ditches have been giving us problems, and we think we have corrected them now."


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