Dirt work and additional culvert installations to the creek which runs through the First Choice Bank Gateway in downtown Pontotoc are the latest improvements to the facilities which adjoin the Tanglefoot Trail.
Last week Pontotoc Aldermen approved $6,800 in culvert work which will be installed by A&B Construction Company and paid with tourism funds.
“They’ll be doing two culvert extensions down there,” said Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples explained. “It’s needed because the culvert work we did last year under Reynolds Street is filling up with dirt. There’s a large volume of water which comes through that creek, especially in a flash flooding situation.”
“One culvert will extend the culvert that comes from the soccer field and the other will be an extension of the Reynolds Street culvert. These will extend out to about the end of the asphalt parking pad on the gateway. The culverts will be dirt covered and sod will be laid down so it can be easily maintained and mowed.”
Last week city workers operated excavators along the creek bed to slope and smooth the banks and fill in additional dirt.
“This sloping will allow us to maintain and mow along the creek,” Peeples said. “Once the dirt dries we’ll haul in sand and put matting on the dirt. We’ll sow rye grass right now, but next spring we’ll be planting Bermuda grass along the creek.”
“On the east bank we added dirt behind the two pavilions so that it could be smoothed and maintained also.”
The 15,000 square foot new pavilion on the west side of the gateway property is gaining in popularity as a dry and cool site for hosting large events. The $315,000 pavilion was financed with a $300,000 state grant.
“The chamber banquet, the Juneteenth Celebration, the county wide pep rally and the recent Chickasaw Tribe celebration were held at the new pavilion,” Peeples noted. “That large fan in the ceiling helps cool things off in the summer time keeps events out of the rain.”
“Representative Mac Huddleston was instrumental in helping secure those grant funds and we’re hoping to see a lot more events held at the pavilion. There’s enough concrete down there to expand the pavilion and add another 75 feet in length.”
“This next fiscal year we’re going to add some bathrooms up at the pavilion and get that done as soon as funds are available. The First Choice Gateway work is progressing and we’re excited about the possibilities down there.”
“We had 205 bicyclists in the Bodock Festival bike ride and the Tanglefoot Trail continues to grow in popularity. And more and more folks are using the walking track which runs along the gateway property. And when funds are available we’re going to put up a few more LED pole lights down there.”
Mayor Peeples added that new LED decorative lights will be strung along downtown Pontotoc this fall.
“The LED lights we put up this spring were defective, we’re sending those back to the company and we’ll be putting up new lights as soon as the weather turns cooler."