By STEVEN NALLEY
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership’s board of directors will discuss several initiatives from the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Starkville Main Street Association at its meeting Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Jennifer Gregory, GSDP vice president for tourism and development, said she plans to report on a wayfinding signage system, parking improvements, the city’s forthcoming redevelopment authority and Starkville’s 175th anniversary. Gregory said she hopes information on the wayfinding system will be finalized in time for the GSDP meeting and in time for a presentation to the Starkville Board of Aldermen March 20.
“Our presentation was delayed because City Engineer Edward Kemp needed specific information from MDOT on the sign poles and insertion techniques to complete an estimate for the in-kind installation,” Gregory said. “I believe that as of (Wednesday) we have received information Mr. Kemp needed, so assuming that information is complete, we will forward that to Mr. Kemp and hope to proceed with the presentation on the 20th.”
Another item Gregory said she plans to bring before the city and GSDP boards is a set of parking recommendations the SMSA board approved Tuesday. Gregory said the recommendations include parking signage, two-hour parking enforcement and public-private partnerships between SMSA and private entities such as banks and churches.
Jon Maynard, GSDP president, said he also plans to give a presentation on a retail analysis service to help court retailers interested in coming to the city and county and help existing retailers better understand market opportunities, among other services. The fee-based service, called SCOUT, comes from a company called Buxton, and Maynard said Buxton’s clients range from large retailers like Walmart Stores Inc. to cities like Kingsport, Tenn.
“I was at the (Tennessee Valley Authority) developer’s forum in Nashville, (Tenn., and) they have a developer’s forum for their economic development folks,” Maynard said. “(Buxton’s SCOUT program) was one of their presentations that they made, (and) TVA has worked out an agreement with Buxton to allow the economic developers in the valley to have access to this data at much-reduced cost. It’s about an 80 percent discount.”
As a member of the city redevelopment authority’s steering committee, Gregory said she will also report on the committee’s progress. Finally, she said she will update the board on plans to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Starkville’s chartering.
She said the anniversary itself, May 11, will only start the festivities, which will continue throughout the year.
“Plans include a birthday party, a parade, a traveling exhibit and other programs related to the anniversary,” Gregory said.
She said she is not likely to issue a final report on the CVB’s Twitter Town Hall at Friday’s meeting, but it may be ready in time for the CVB meeting March 21.
The Twitter town hall on Feb. 27 brought several residents, MSU alumni and others with Starkville ties together to discuss the city’s progress and future.
“We’re putting together a list of the top topics and (making) future plans for additional Twitter town hall meetings,” Gregory said. “I hope to be able to have an actual report to be able to disperse to elected officials, the media and the GSDP boards sometime next week. It’s been a pretty exhaustive task to whittle down the information we received into a format that could be easily understood.”