North 38th Ave. pathway to connect area between West 4th and Hardy Street

By STAFF REPORTS,

The construction of an 8-foot multi-use path on North 38th Avenue will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists traversing to businesses, shops and restaurant on and between West 4th Street and Hardy Street.

The pathway’s construction, which began earlier in the summer, will connect Hardy Street to the Longleaf Trace, just east of the 38th Avenue and West 4th Street intersection. It will also provide safer access for students and neighborhood residents.

Mayor Toby Barker, who announced the project, was joined by Ward 1 Councilman Jeffrey George, University of Southern Mississippi President Dr. Rodney Bennett, Forrest County District 5 Supervisor Chris Bowen, House District 102 State Representative Missy McGee and representatives from The University of Southern Mississippi.

“It has been a long process to acquire the property and funds needed to make this project happen,” George said. “I am excited to see progress in Ward 1 and know this is just the start of enhancing the Southern Heights neighborhood and transforming the western boundary of the Southern Miss campus.”

In late 2017, George brought this project forward as his primary bud-get request for Ward 1. During the course of two years, the council set aside funding for most of the project’s budget. Additional funds were provided through Bowen’s  recreation budget in District 5.  However, it was the addition of state funding that allowed the project to finally move forward. During the special legislative session in summer 2018, McGee and other legislators advocated for and secured $100,000 from the BP settlement, specifically targeted for 38th Avenue.

“So many students, children and families travel North 38th Avenue by foot or on a bicycle each and every day,” McGee said. “This multi-use path will greatly enhance the safety and quality of life on a very busy corridor.”

“I want students and area residents to know that this is only the beginning for 38th Avenue,” Barker said. “Next year, we will continue to transform 38th Avenue in appearance and functionality. When you pair this with all the exciting projects going on at the university, 38th Avenue will truly become an asset to the midtown area.”

The total cost for the project is $561,965.60, and construction is expected to be complete by February 2020.