By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – After years of drainage woes leading to street and sidewalk damage, Ida Street will get major improvements early next year.
Tupelo leaders voted Tuesday to approve a Community Development Block Grant to pay for half of an estimated $520,000 drainage upgrade in the mostly low-income neighborhood.
Engineering Solutions Inc. was selected to handle the project.
“As you know, it’s much needed,” Tupelo Grant Administrator Terri Blissard told the City Council this week. “Every time it rains, it floods.”
Ida Street has long suffered from inadequate storm water drainage, which, in addition to creating flood hazards, has caused damage to the road and sidewalks, according to Public Works Director Sid Russell, who called the area “high priority.”
Although Ida stretches more than one mile from Monument Drive east to Industrial Road, the drainage problems are heaviest between Industrial and Tedford Street, Russell said. Ida is home to numerous residents, most of whom live in the low-income apartment buildings lining the length of the street.
A few businesses also are located there.
City leaders have long considered the area as blighted and have talked about revitalizing it to attract more middle-income families. Mayor Jack Reed Jr. this week called the anticipated drainage project a good first step.
“I can’t think of a better place in Tupelo to go in and turn things around,” Reed said.
“Anything and everything we can do for the Ida Street area, I think we need to throw every weapon we’ve got at it to help.”
This is the second Community Development Block Grant in recent years. Tupelo completed a $245,677 Haven Acres sewer project with CDBG money in November. Cook Coggin handled that project.