Officials say improvements to city street will be for naught unless right-of-way is cleared

A busy local thoroughfare could soon get a much needed resurfacing as part of a joint project between the Grady County Commission, the Cairo City Council and the Grady County Joint Development Authority.
The three local entities are joining forces to make application for a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) grant for the rehabilitation of 20th Street S.E., which is partly a city street and the remainder a county road.
The street is a main entrance to Milestone Industrial Park and is used extensively by semi-trucks going to and from such local businesses as Woodhaven Industries.
The county and JDA have committed funds for the project and the city has budgeted $125,000 to be combined with the county and JDA’s contribution.
The local funds will be used with the $235,000 GTIB grant, if the application is approved.
Plans call for a full depth reclamation of the street, which means the street will be taken down to the existing road bed and a beefed up road bed will be constructed and new pavement placed over the top. This will make the street suitable to accommodate heavy truck traffic, according to city officials.
However, last Monday night city leaders expressed concerns over investing in the street project when A&R Metals continues to encroach on the right-of-way with scrap and salvage materials.
According to Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, two pianos and a “bunch of junk” has been on the southside of the rail road on the eastside of the city right-of-way for over two weeks.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said that Jimmy Hammett of A&R Metals had told City Community Services Department Superintendent Pat Mitchell two weeks ago that it would be removed and it still is there.
“We need to do whatever we have to do to get him off the right-of-way,” Councilman Douglas said.
City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman agreed to write a letter demanding A&R Metals to clear the right-of-way immediately.
Mayor Bobby Burns also questioned if something could be done about the front end loader owned by A&R Metals that he said is leaking hydraulic fluid.
“It’s no good paving the street if we can’t get him to keep his stuff off the road,” Douglas said.

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