By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
In the coming weeks, the residents of Fulton will see a brighter, safer, more welcoming downtown area.
The city is currently in the process of erecting 21 new street lights throughout downtown Fulton, a project Mayor Paul Walker said will make the area more inviting and safer for nighttime visitors.
“We’ve got areas in downtown Fulton that we think are a little dark and gloomy looking,” the mayor said. “Hopefully, these lights will help spruce up the area and will help protect the businesses located there.”
The installation of the lights, which will match those already found around the Itawamba County courthouse, will cost the city around $76,000.
The mayor said the new lights will cover a four block area — from the traffic light on the east side of downtown to the traffic light on west side.
Installation of the lights began approximately two weeks ago and is expected to wrap up sometime early April.
In addition to the new lights, the city is repairing several sidewalks running along some of the downtown area’s busier streets.
According to Walker, the sidewalks getting makeovers include those on Wiygul, Clifton, Beene and Cummings streets.
Walker said the sidewalks, as they exist now, are in poor shape and in need of repair.
“We’ve just got a lot of old, worn-out sidewalks in the area that we’d like to redo,” the mayor said.
The total cost of the project is about $75,000, which the city is paying for out-of-pocket.
These changes are part of an ongoing series of improvements to the city’s downtown area intended to make it safer and more aesthetically pleasing. In February, city officials and residents met with the Mississippi State-based non-profit planning group, the Carl Small Town Center (CSTC), which previously helped in planning the downtown Playgarden Park, to help determine what, if any, improvements should be made to the downtown area.
One of the major talking points of the meeting was the stretch at the intersection of Access Road and Main Street up to the Itawamba Community College campus and both the inadequate lighting and general disjointed feeling between the community college campus and the downtown area.
Talk of unifying the downtown area, ICC campus and the walking track began last year when the city began planning the creation of a boulevard along Main Street between the walking track and community college. Planned features for the boulevard included sidewalks, lighting and an eight-foot greenery area running down the middle of Main Street.
No official date has been set for when work would start on this boulevard, but it is expected this year.