Propose naming downtown bridge over Tallahatchie River for Zack Stewart

NEMiss.News Nov 2 New Albany City Board
Ms Amie Smith addresses the Board regarding a culvert on her property on Moss Hill Dr.


Businessman Mark Garrett appeared Nov 2 before the New Albany Board of Aldermen to support a new name for the Bankhead Street bridge over the Tallahatchie River.

District 3 State Senator Kathy Chism has introduced legislation to name the downtown bridge over the Tallahatchie River for former Transportation Commissioner Zack Stewart. Garrett told the aldermen that members of the legislature are receptive to the idea and would like a demonstration of support from local officials. Garrett asked the board to pass a resolution supporting naming the bridge for Zack Stewart. The board passed the resolution unanimously.

Stewart, a long time New Albany resident, served five terms as Transportation Commissioner for the Northern District of Mississippi. The bridge Stewart built during his time in office replaced a two-lane bridge that was no longer adequate for the traffic it carried.

Garrett cited Stewart for his work and dedication to New Albany. Stewart was also a major player in the early 1980s in creating a program that has built well over a thousand miles of four-lane highways throughout Mississippi.

The Union County Heritage Museum supports naming the bridge for Stewart.

Stewart is talented, colorful, and exceptionally intelligent, a man who has spent a lifetime “making things happen” for the benefit of Union County and all of Mississippi. [See link to story about Stewart and his life in link below.]

Regarding New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW), the aldermen acted on several items:

  • NALGW Director Bill Mattox got approval for a quick claim deed for Brenda Carter. The action resolves confusion over the location of a city well.
  • A payment of $35,122.25 to KAJACS Construction for work on the new wastewater treatment plant was approved. Another $17,506.50 to ESI for engineering work on the wastewater plant was also approved.
  • Mattox asked the board for permission to advertise for bids for machinery for trimming trees along NALGW electrical power lines. He said city crews would, with the proposed equipment, be able to do tree trimming for about $3,500 per mile, less than half of what it costs when done by outside contractors. The board approved the request.

Jill Smith, Director of the Union County Heritage Museum, invited people to a Nov. 12 event honoring Sam Mosley and the Mosely & Johnson Band. The reception to honor Mosely and his contribution to American music and the local community will be at 6 p.m. Friday, November 12. Representatives of “Living Blues Magazine” and of Malaco, Mosely’s record label, will participate in the event.

Smith also reminded people of Pioneer Days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week at the museum.

Fire Chief Mark Whiteside told the board about problems the fire department is facing with hiring qualified fire-fighting personnel in the current chaotic labor market. Whiteside wants to speed up the process to get more candidates hired quickly. Under the current protocols, it can take up to two or three months to hire qualified people. It often happens that qualified firemen get hired by other fire departments.

Chief Whiteside said scheduling testing for the physical exam all firemen must pass can be made to move more quickly. Other educational and background requirements for qualification will still apply. The board approved Whiteside’s suggestions for expediting the hiring process for fire fighters.

The board also approved buying a used forestry truck from Ingomar Volunteer Fire Department for $100.00. This truck will be used for fire protection at the New Albany Airport.

The board approved Whiteside’s request to purchase of a new “jaws-for-life” unit to replace one that is now ten years old. The old ‘jaws” unit has been used many times to extract victims from motor vehicle accidents.

Whiteside commended Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sides for being selected for Northeast District Vice President on the 2021-2022 board of the Mississippi Fire Safety Instructors Association (MSFSIA).

New Albany Building Inspector Eric Thomas presented his monthly report. Thomas also discussed with the board the purchase of body cameras for use by building inspectors.

Amy Smith of 814 Moss Hill Dr. spoke with the board about problems with a culvert at the address. The discussion was difficult to follow with participants talking over one another, but it seemed that the essential problem is that the old culvert driveway gets stopped up, causing water to back up in ditches. Keeping the culvert clear is difficult, if not impossible. City Streets Manager Johnny Payton said city crews had made numerous trips to the address to clear the culvert, and doing so is impossible because of how it is constructed. All agree that the culvert should be replaced. Smith wants the city to replace the culvert at its expense. The city’s position is that replacing the culvert is Smith’s responsibility. The discussion was inconclusive.

The next meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen is December 7 at 5:30p.m.

More about Zack Stewart:

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Video of full content of Nov. 2 City Board meeting ( by Kendall Stancil):


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