Fulton officials fret water fowl feces

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

Those with weak constitutions may want to stop reading now; this story’s a bit gross.
Last week, Fulton aldermen questioned an unusual expense on the claims docket: $33 for corn, purchased by the city’s street department. The explanation for the expense wasn’t exactly the kind of thing that makes for polite conversation.
It seems the City of Fulton has a bit of a goose problem … more specifically, a bit of a goose poop problem.
Just about every day, geese — sometimes numbering in the hundreds — land in the waters of the Tenn-Tom Waterway and make their way ashore, eventually climbing the small hill to the city’s walking track.
According to Fulton Street Department Director Stacy Smith, the birds are less interested in a cardiovascular workout and more interested in relieving themselves all over the track.
“Sometimes there’s as many as 200 down there,” Smith said. “When you get that many geese down there, walking around together, they’re bound to make a mess.”
Needless to say, this makes walking on the track a bit like negotiating an obstacle course. It’s such a mess, in fact, that during summer months the track has to be pressure washed almost every day.
Smith told city leaders that his department has received some calls.
“There are times when we get a lot of complaints,” he told the board.
Smith said he’s tried several methods to keep geese from wandering up the hill to the track. First, rye grass was strategically planted near the waterline to keep the fowl from wandering up toward the track. Next, Smith began spreading corn down at the shoreline.
He said the geese are eating through a bag or so each week. It makes a bit of a difference, but things still get a bit messy.
When aldermen asked if spreading the corn “worked,” Smith simply shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, it doesn’t ‘work,’ but it helps,” he said.
The board seemed to agree it was money well spent. Shoes everywhere rejoiced.
Parking lot blues
City officials are having to back off a bit on plans to add a new paved parking lot to the downtown area.
Because of the lay of the land, engineers have estimated that the lot — located on Main Street next to Mag’s Muffler — would cost an estimated $200,000 to complete, including paving and a wall to prevent erosion. The city budgeted approximately $60,000 for the project.
Aldermen practically gasped at the price tag. When asked for an explanation for the high cost, Smith explained it was mostly because of the low elevation of the area.
“Drainage is going to be a real problem there,” he told the board.
Instead, the board agreed to move forward with a different plan. The city has been packing the lot with dirt for months in an attempt to build it up. That work will continue for the time being. Once filled, the street department will cover the lot in gravel and allow the lot’s use for overflow parking until the dirt is well packed.
“We’ll try to make it a functional parking lot,” Smith told the board … nothing fancy, but able to get the job done for the time being.

adam.armour@journalinc.com