Mendenhall mayor predicts growth for cityBy MARLAN JONES,
Mendenhall Mayor Todd Booth says that the city is continuing to improve.
Several projects were set into motion last year to help beautify and change the image of Mendenhall. Since taking office Booth has stressed the importance of enticing travelers on Highway 49 to stop and shop Mendenhall. Projects such as the Highway 49 and Highway 13 intersection beautification efforts were one of many steps taken to achieve this goal.
Last year the city received clearance from MDOT to clear the right of way to make the businesses in that area more visible from the highway. Mendenhall also entered into an agreement with MDOT and Entergy to install new street lights along Highway 13 to brighten the area. Booth explained that his vision is to open up the area and let people know there is life in the city.
Booth recently reported that the installation of the lights is entering the final stages and that the city is waiting on Entergy. According to Booth MDOT has signed off on the updated version of the plans and the three entities have agreed on the number of lights. Booth revealed that the plans had to be altered to include twice as many lights as the city was interested in.
“It was one of those things where if we wanted them then we had to do it that way. This will brighten the entrance way of the city and the business will be lit to maybe help draw people down in the area,” said Booth.
This effort is currently going on in conjunction with the installation of a new frontage road along Highway 49. The city received permits to being clearing the right of way for a frontage road in 2016. Last year the city received permits and passed an inspection by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to proceed. The road is expected to run from the Highway 49 and Highway 13 intersection to East Street.
Booth said the city has tried to establish a frontage road for the last 30 years, but now they have a plan in place. A concern for those involved were the utility poles along Highway 49. Booth affirmed that the utility poles would not have to be moved during the initial installation, but the subject would have to be revisited if businesses were ever established.
The frontage road project is expected to be expensive and Booth said that as of now it will be paid for using city funds. Due to the expense, no definite timeline has been established.
Booth said, “We are trying to do it with what we have to work with. Small steps will get you to the same place, but it might take you a little longer to get there.”
The project is ongoing but at a slower pace. Booth said, “We are working as we can, but rain and winter time slowed us down. We’re hoping to get back on this within the next few weeks.”
Booth revealed that potential MDOT projects have recently been discussed but they are still in the early stages. He expressed excitement about new activity within the city.
He said, “I’m excited about Keep Mendenhall Beautiful and what that means for the city. Mrs. Martha ) is doing a great job and she has a lot of good people helping her.”
He mentioned the upcoming season of Friday Nights on Main. The opening event was held last Friday and Booth estimated over 100 cars participated. “I want to thank Tim Gray and the committee for a job well done. I commend their efforts.”
Booth predicted that the city will continue to show growth and improvement.