Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2008
By Jason C. Mattox
The City of Batesville has agreed to pay for engineering services that will help develop a master plan for the Downtown Square.
Main Street manager Colleen Clark presented the request to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen during a meeting Tuesday.
“We came to you last year and told you we were working on a master plan for downtown,” she said.
Main Street is working with Belinda Stewart Architects to develop the plan, she said.
Stewart, also present at the meeting, told aldermen her current plan called for breaking the project into the following phases:
•Relocating above-ground utilities
“We also want to look at the overall opinion of the Square by the people in and out of Batesville,” Stewart said. “In a way, we are looking at a way to brand the Square.”
Stewart informed city leaders that she had been meeting with professional planner Bob Barber to tie the plans for the Downtown Square into the Batesville’s 20-year plan now being developed.
“You have a really great downtown square,” she said. “We want to look at what parts of our plan are feasible and which ones aren’t. It might not be possible for us to relocate all of the utility poles downtown, but that is something we would like to do.”
Stewart then said Main Street would like to see the city pay for the engineering services during the development of the plan.
“The Panola Partnership and Main Street would pay for the remainder of the project,” she said.
Ward 4 Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders asked Stewart how to get business owners to participate in upgrading the square.
“You can offer incentives to them,” Stewart said. “There are some grants out there the city could apply for and then re-grant to business owners for small projects like new awnings and restoring a store front.”
In other board business:
•Misty Jones was given permission to attend the certification program in Jackson on May 31.
•Lisa Hamilton and Bridget Pittman were given permission to attend the 2008 Central Service Training in Tupelo May 21.
•Mayor Jerry Autrey was given permission to sign an audit engagement letter with W.H. Polk and Company.
• Troy Vest was hired as a volunteer firefighter.
•William Stewart was given permission to take the fire and life safety trailer to Anchor Baptist Church in Oxford on June 3.