Road to be reworked, parking lot to be built near park|[04/02/07]

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2007

An intersection that angles off Porters Chapel Road into the Belle Meade and Audubon Hills residential areas will be reshaped, Vicksburg Mayor Laurence Leyens said.

The ongoing project, for which the city purchased a private home for $125,000 and tore it down, will also enhance a triangle-shaped clearing the city has fenced off as a park.

The total cost is estimated at about $250,000, and the idea is not without critics. &#8220I think it was spent foolishly,” said Ray Heffner, who lives at 1578 Porters Chapel Road. &#8220The park is not being used. They don’t have facilities at the park. There’s not a whole lot of demand for parks that I know of.”

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Porters Chapel is a winding north-south corridor extending from Halls Ferry Road to South Frontage Road. Originally a county trail following ridgetops through the area, it was annexed in 1990.

The park area is where one abrupt curve was shortened. The future of the public tract has been debated, with nearby residents opposed to its sale for development. So the city created a park.

Belle Meade has another entrance, but the intersection being changed is used as a shortcut. Danger exists for drivers there, Leyens said, when entering Porters Chapel.

&#8220It’s a very fast road,” Leyens said. &#8220People kind of have to look over their shoulders” due to the angle, he said.

Director of Public Works Bubba Rainer said work on a new intersection is expected to take about two weeks once it starts. He said he did not know when the project would begin.

&#8220It’s just to improve the intersection,” he said. &#8220We’re still trying to work details out on that.”

Rainer said he could not estimate what the project will cost. &#8220We haven’t put a number to it, but it will be minimal. We’ll probably absorb it in our maintenance budget.”

The deal with Robert Capp, whose former lot will be part of the new intersection, closed on Jan. 16. The home was razed more than two weeks ago, and trees were removed to clear the lot.

Porters Chapel Community Park opened about two years ago, Parks and Recreation Director Joe Graves said.