Hernando City Hall

Hernando City Hall

After record rainfall this winter and no let-up during a particularly wet spring, the City of Hernando, like other places, is having to deal with major erosion issues.

However, some residents at Tuesday night's city board meeting expressed their concerns that the city is not dealing with record erosion quickly enough.

Others stated they were concerned that developers were not being held to account for erosion by wholesale clear-cutting of trees on developed property.

Even more concerning is that some homes have been allowed to be built in flood-prone areas and that developers are not properly grading slopes in the subdivision.

Local attorney Mike Graves presented his case detailing erosion in the Forest Meadows subdivision, Phase 5, which adjoins his property.

Graves has been an outspoken advocate against developers having a free rein on grading and developing property at the expense of nearby property owners.

After much discussion, city officials have agreed to seriously study the erosion problems plaguing residents in the Forest Meadows subdivision.

"We agreed that Civil-Link Engineering will do the evaluation of slopes," Mayor Tom Ferguson said. "City Engineer Joe Frank Lauderdale will review it."

In other matters, city officials heard of a proposal by the North Mississippi Trail Allowance to construct a pump track, or a short training course for trail and mountain bikes on an unused portion of the 40-acre Renasant Park.

The closed-loop pump track would give youngsters a place to ride and practice trail riding, according to Gia Matheny, Community Development Director for the City of Hernando.

If the city gives the go-ahead for the track, it would be built with all-volunteer help at a private and not public cost of approximately $8,000, according to Tom Gentry with the NMTA.

The track would tie into the city's multipurpose trail that is part of the conceptual design of the park.

"In addition to quality of life, it can improve the health of local residents," Gentry said.

Shawn McKinney, a Hernando resident, said having a pump track at the park would prevent people and families from having to drive to Memphis for a similar experience.

McKinney said children, especially, would benefit from the track.

Dewayne Williams, Hernando Parks and Recreation Director, said the pump track would protect the investment the city has made in the privately-funded skateboard park nearby because bicycles with pegs would not do damage to the skatepark as is currently done.

Williams said he views the pump track as an asset to the park.

Hernando, Williams said, doesn't have "hundreds of millions of dollars" to pump into a park esteem so anytime a private entity wishes to initiate a project, it is viewed as favorable.

"We have an opportunity to have an amenity at the park," Williams said.

Ward 3 Alderman Gary Higdon agreed.

"The plan is to tie it to the trail that we are already going to build," Higdon said.

Ward 4 Alderman Michael McLendon said he was not so sure about the project, preferring to concentrate on more traditional sports programs like baseball, softball and football.

"I think it would be more beneficial it it was a trail," McLendon said, adding he was also concerned about possible injuries at the track.

Ward 2 Alderman Andrew Miller urged McLendon to be more open-minded about the project.

"Everybody is not into baseball or softball or soccer," Miller said. "We need diverse things. This is a diverse city. And this is the most minimal cost of anything that we could do. You can't even build a hot dog stand that cheap."

All the pump track volunteers will need is approximately 450 yards of fill dirt and spray to kill weeds, according to Gentry. They will do the rest.

"It could turn into a great addition at the skate park," said Gentry, adding construction would take about three months and would require about 400 man-hours to build.

Ferguson said he was taking a wait-and-see attitude about the project, which will be on the city's next agenda.

"If it doesn't work out, it's just dirt," Ferguson said. "We can go on and do something else. I think it will work."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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