Jones County Courthouse in Ellisville

The Jones County Courthouse in Ellisville

Paving projects, courthouse work and beavers get supervisors’ attention

Several Jones County roads were approved for repaving to be paid for with funds that will be reimbursed by state or federal agencies, the Jones County Board of Supervisors said in their most recent meeting.

Dunn Roadbuilders had the low bid for a project that will repair Ellisville-Tuckers Crossing Road and Old Highway 15 South. Dunn’s bid of $430,152 beat out the Walters Construction ($444,487) and Bush Construction ($454,533.57) and all were under the engineer’s estimate of $523,645. 

Both roads were among many in the county that were damaged by severe flash-flooding just after Christmas. The money for the project will be paid back by the Federal Highway Administration.

Similar projects were approved for the replacement of a bridge on G. Morgan Road (R&J Construction, $343,507.40) and repaving on part of Trace Road (Bush Construction, $129,940.73). Supervisors also approved the seeking of bids to get emergency repair work done on Lower Myrick Road and Florence Church Road. They also declared an emergency repair was needed on a bridge on Anderson Road.

Another item on the agenda that had to do with flooding was beaver control. Supervisors agreed unanimously to bring Trapper Parker “out of retirement” on a contract basis to help with that.

“The beavers have overrun some places,” Supervisor Barry Saul said. “They’re horrible on Lyon Ranch Road and a lot of other places.”

In another matter, Grant Hedgepeth got an update from supervisors about what was being done to continue restoration of the Jones County courthouse in Ellisville. 

The first phase is complete, with the replacement of the roof last summer, but there are still leaks and the building is “still in horrendous shape,” Hedgepeth said, pointing to the “paint and plaster” on the inside. He reminded supervisors that “more than 65 percent of the people” voted in a referendum that they wanted to keep the courthouse in Laurel and Ellisville.

There’s a December deadline for getting $200,000 in grant money to help pay for the work that’s needed. He said that Lance Chancellor of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department “really knows how” to get grant money, but he has to get the approval of the sheriff to be able to work on that.

“We are keenly aware of the deadline on getting the grant money, and we’re committed to spend it on repairs to the Ellisville courthouse,” engineer Ronnie Clark said.

There are plans in place to continue repairs, he said, and cited correspondence that went from his office to the board’s Chief Administrative Officer Danielle Ashley, who is also a member of the Courthouse Restoration Committee, along with Hedgepeth.

In a letter dated April 12, engineer Wiley Pickering wrote that no new roof leaks were seen after big recent rains, so water that is likely entering the building through failed joints in the terra cotta cornice. Those repairs are part of the second phase of restoration, along with roof trusses and rafters, repairing damaged terra cotta pieces and “repainting, replacing and patching damaged elements of the masonry facade.”

Some of that work and the replacement of window frames that need replacing will be done by the Jones County Maintenance Department, in order to save money, Pickering wrote. All plans and specifications for work on the historic building will be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for approval, then the county will advertise for bids for work that can’t be done in-house.

In other matters, the board voted unanimously to:

• Reappoint Faguiall Ball to the Regional Laurel Housing Authority Board of Commissioners;

• Approve a utility permit for C Spire to do work along Springhill and Old Soso roads;

• Approve Trustmark National Bank’s low bid of 3.52 percent interest on the lease-purchase of a new vehicle for the Emergency Operations Center;

• Donate $1,000 for the Community Bank fireworks show in Ellisville and to pay $800 for a full-page advertisement in the Leader-Call’s annual graduation magazine.

Rev. David Fedele of Freedom Baptist Church gave the invocation to open the meeting.

The board will convene again at 9:30 a.m. on Monday,  at the courthouse in Ellisville.

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