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and Information / April 2006 / U.S.
221-BPC Boulevard Partnership
Mount Vernon, Brewton-Parker
announce U.S. 221-BPC Boulevard Partnership
By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations
A scenic boulevard that will not only connect
North U.S. Highway 221/Railroad Street in Mount Vernon to the west part of
Brewton-Parker College’s campus
but that will also bridge the area’s past, present and future was revealed
publicly Thursday on the Brewton-Parker campus.
The City of Mount Vernon and Brewton-Parker
College announced a partnership on Thursday that will result in a scenic
boulevard connecting the highway to
the campus following a land purchase from Montgomery County Elementary School
teacher Lou Palmer O’Neill.
The announcement came at a news conference on the west patio of the Bartow
and Jean Snooks Student Activities Center on the Brewton-Parker campus, near
where the boulevard will end.
The divided boulevard will be marked with a Brewton-Parker sign at Highway
221 and will follow Palmer Street to where Robinson and Rabun streets meet
near the parking lot of the Snooks Student Activities Center, the Morgan-Moses
Math and Science Center and Saliba Chapel.
Dr. David R. Smith, Brewton-Parker’s
president, said the boulevard meets two vital needs for the campus.
One was how do we bring the approximately 30,000 guests per year that come
to the Student Activities Center and to Saliba Chapel to this end of the
campus” without having to provide a complex set of directions off U.S.
Highway 280/West College Street, Smith said.
The other concern regarded security issues along the west side of the college
property that includes the Baron Ridge dormitories that connect to East Palmer
“We had some security issues that developed several years ago that have
continued,” Smith said. “When we visited with the mayor, he began
to think in a more global manner that would bring a solution that would be
“So what we bring you today really is Mayor Fountain’s
vision that we bought into quickly once we realized what he had in mind,
a west entry into the campus that also secures the west side of our grounds.”
The agreement includes purchase of 12 acres
of land from O’Neill that
stretches from Highway 221 to the Brewton-Parker campus, land which also includes
the current Palmer Street.
Smith said Saliba Chapel should be visible down a significant stretch of the
new boulevard, which will retain the Palmer name as a historic gesture to the
longtime servants of the community.
The streets will end in a circle drive that will eventually encompass a planned
lighted fountain that will feature a cross in its center.
We are excited about this property acquisition and the former owner and the
city working with us. Not only will we benefit from a scenic west entry into
the campus, but our students and staff will also experience more security
as it becomes a reality,” Smith said.
Fountain said that to envision how one wants to improve his town is easy,
but to find someone to offer the support must be found.
“Dr. Smith is real good about giving me the credit, but it could not
have happened without him and Lou, and I think it’s a win/win situation
for the City of Mount Vernon, for Brewton-Parker and for Lou,” Fountain
“It’s going to make Mount Vernon look better and it’s
going to make Brewton-Parker look better, and Brewton-Parker is a big, big
to Mount Vernon and Montgomery County. Without Brewton-Parker, our county would
really be struggling and we need more industry and more things to support Brewton-Parker.
I am encouraging people in our community to get more involved with Brewton-Parker
and support the activities they have here.”
The purchase from O’Neill also includes a house at the corner of West
College Street and Lakeshore Drive in Ailey. The property will allow for an
east access to the college’s Eugene Briscoe Religious Activities Center.
“Nothing would make our family any happier to see Palmer Street refurbished
and to see this vision come (to fruition),” O’Neill said. “We
have had the property in our family for several generations and my parents,
Lewis and Sadie Palmer, loved this community and they loved Brewton-Parker.”
Lewis Palmer graduated from Brewton-Parker
Institute’s high school in
1929 and the two-year college program in 1931, and O’Neill said, “Daddy
always spoke highly of and he had fond memories of his days as a student here.”
“We’re just very happy that
this could happen, and I would also like to thank Mayor Fountain and Gary
Braddy for helping with this, too.”
Smith added that Tom Moore, Brewton-Parker’s
chief financial officer, and Ailey attorney Tom Everitt played instrumental
roles in formulating the
He also laid out a tentative timeline, largely based on the acquisition of
funds, for beginning and completing the project but anticipated it beginning
in the next few months.
Fountain said Local Option grants and legislative assistance have been sought
that should help to expedite the construction phases.
“I believe that this project will benefit the City of Mount Vernon in
beautifying a part of the community that is in need of transition,” Smith
said. “It will benefit Brewton-Parker College by providing a much needed
west entry into the heart of our campus. It will also preserve the historic
Palmer name which has for generations been synonymous with this part of our
town. This indeed is in every way a ‘win/win’ situation.”