'Face-to-face': Ward 5's Miller hosts Plantation Homes town hall


From left: Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller talks with Danny Jones and Bob Weining, both of Bridal Path in Plantation Homes, following a neighborhood town hall meeting at City Hall on Monday night. (Photos by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN EDITOR

From tall grass to the conditions of roads, Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller fielded a range of topics at a town hall meeting Monday night for his constituents in the Plantation Homes subdivision.

Topics included roads in need of paving, speeding, development along Highway 389 and more from concern citizens.

Miller hosted his first community town hall in December for the Oktibbeha Gardens neighborhood, and saw roughly a dozen residents of Plantation Homes come to Monday’s meeting in the upstairs board room in City Hall.

“It’s a great neighborhood with truly a lot of active residents, who have been in Plantation Homes and Starkville a long time,” Miller said following the town hall. “It’s just a good opportunity to be here with Buddy Sanders and the Mayor (Lynn Spruill) and hear what (the resident’s) issues are.”

Miller said he hosted Monday’s event and plans more, due to not living in most of the neighborhoods he represents.

“I might as well give the residents and constituents an opportunity to see me face-to-face and talk about what’s going on and there were a lot of issues tonight that had I not been able to see them tonight, they might have been passed by and kind of get to address them,” Miller said.

BY THE ISSUES

Bill and HelenSue Parrish of Bonnie Road in Plantation Homes attended the town hall and were vocal about their concerns as they relate to the condition of the roads in their neighborhood.

“We’ve been treated as second-class citizens when it comes to paving our streets,” Bill said. “They have been paved piecemeal starting with II and III, and when they got around to I, they would pave part of a road. We still have a circle from Seville going around to Windsor that hasn’t been paved.”

His wife, HelenSue, then suggested a four-way stop on Bonnie Road and Seville Place, and Bonnie Road and Windsor Road.

Plantation Homes resident Bonnie Coblentz then spoke for several in the neighborhood that said there was no consensus on among residents on how they would like to see speed modulated in Plantation Homes.

Another concern came with the current state of the roads transitioning to individual driveways. Coblentz says her son drives a Honda Accord, which only has a few inches of clearance coming out of their driveway.

“If we get to where we’re paving, sometimes it can just be difficult, you don’t foresee everything,” Miller lamented when asked by several residents what the city plans to do about areas where the road has been overlayed multiple times and butts up to their driveways, causing clearance issues for low-sitting vehicles.

With a wide swath of needs not only in Plantation Homes, but throughout the city, Miller cited Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp, who had previously said the city’s utilities department would work to address individual street needs, apart from the major three neighborhoods - Green Oaks, Pleasant Acres and Rolling Hills - that would be of the highest priority.

“The problem is that (infrastructure) is a problem across the entire city,” Miller said. “I really am proud of the (Board of Aldermen), Mayor Spruill for kind of pioneering it. There isn’t anyone else in the state that is at least trying to take a proactive step to replace and work toward that. Starkville, I would make a big argument, we are ahead of the curb, and if there is anything in Plantation Homes that needs serious attention, we’re going to do it.”

Talk then turned to development along the Mississippi Highway 389 corridor, with OCH Regional Medical Center making the area attractive to developers.

Some residents worry the area will become overdeveloped with chain restaurants and gas stations.

“I sat down with the mayor and MDOT and discussed what Jackson, 389 is going to look like moving forward and at least it was a discussion to speak with MDOT,” Miller said. “I don’t want 389 to turn into every other highway in America with the hospital, there’s a lot of potential for it to be fast food chains and gas stations and that could potentially butt right up to ya’ll’s neighborhood.”

“I know that’s something ya’ll want to protect,” Miller continued.

The new planters on Critz Street, which were aimed to reduce speeding through the area, were mentioned by one attendee, to which Miller said the reviews have been mixed, but positive, from those living on Critz.

“From what I can tell, I haven’t had one complaint from Critz Street, so the people who actually live on Critz Street have not complained,” Miller said. “The one’s that we’ve put in on Critz are kind of in the center of the road … I have gotten a lot of angry emails, but my impression of angry emails is they are people passing through. From my perspective, the exact people we are trying to slow down. They are upset about having to slow down.”

Closing out the meeting, Miller said there would likely be two major issues he would focus on through the remainder of the term.

“There probably two major things I could talk about for rest of the term: trying to up the time that maybe Seville gets paved, that’s on a priority list,” he said. “I can talk to (City Engineer Edward Kemp) about that. Any work we do on that will be reliant on what the (Board of Aldermen) wants to do. Next thing is, is going to be dealing with speeding or safety on Bonnie and Seville and Bonnie and Windsor.”

When asked after the meeting what he believed to be the biggest talking points, Miller again discussed infrastructure needs, but more importantly, address individual needs of streets.

“I think it was two things, some speeding issues and also streets being paved and also, too, you have a ton of culverts and ditches that run through Plantation Homes and it’s just important that we as a city recognize that and continue to incrementally work toward improving Plantation Homes across all of those issues,” Miller said. “I do plan on having future town hall meetings with other neighborhoods, so I don’t want them to feel left out. We’re going to do them again.”

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