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Officials consider redevelopment district, authority

April 1, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

A redevelopment authority could be one step city officials take to make improvements in Starkville in the wake of this week’s comprehensive review of the community’s core.
On Friday city officials wrapped up a round of meetings with design and other professionals as part of the charrette process which took place this past week.
A major topic of discussion among those involved at the meeting was the creation of both a redevelopment district and a corresponding authority.
Such an authority would work in conjunction with the city and potential developers to identify sites and have the ability to issue urban renewal bonds, Mayor Parker Wiseman said.
There are “perfectly solvable” issues surrounding the creation of such a board, but it does begs questions such as the role the Greater Starkville Development Partnership would play in such a panel or if another group needs to be involved, Tripp Muldrow, with Arnett Muldrow & Associates, said.
“I think it has to be at least a quasi-city entity because the city is going to have to fund it at least in part,” Wiseman said. Wiseman says he thinks “the key is finding a way to delicately balance the government side of what a redevelopment authority has to do because there is one, with the private sector side.”
Friday’s meeting was one of the final actions after the charrette team made a public presentation on Thursday regarding some of its initial findings and recommendations.
Some highlights from this include:
u Charrette team members recommended the placement of a police facility facing south the intersection between Lafayette Street and Highway 182 on property under consideration for the project. They also support a face-lift approach to City Hall. Those locally reviewing upgrades to City Hall are considering an expansion of the facility as well.
u Team members came up with several marketing ideas for the community, including a slogan of “Historic Starkville: Mississippi’s College Town” and “Our New State of Mind.”
They also suggest the creation of a new series of events called “New South Weekend.”
u The group also suggested decks would be a way to address the issue of providing parking and offered glimpses of what some redeveloped properties could look like, such as the former Starkville Electric Department office building off Main Street converted to an arts cafe.

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