City looks to purchase land south of Sportsplex

Mayor Lynn Spruill discusses the agenda for the Starkville Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Starkville board of Aldermen will begin negotiations for the purchase of 51 acres of land for the expansion of the Sportsplex.

The action was taken during executive session at the city’s meeting on Tuesday night. This was the only action taken in closed session. The land in question is to the south of the Sportsplex.

Mayor Lynn Spruill said she and the board are excited to increase the status of the city’s sports facilities and this land acquisition will be the first step in the process.

“It’s to expand our sports facilities so we can increase our ability to attract tournaments for soccer, baseball and softball,” Spruill said.

Spruill said at the moment, she is unsure of what the cost of the land acquisition will be. She said there will be a better idea of the amount once the negotiating begins.

In terms of how long the process will take, Spruill said she is hoping the negotiations won’t be a long process. She said it could take a couple of weeks, considering the next board meeting is not until Feb. 6.

“We’ve got three weeks, obviously, that I will use to go try to talk to those folks, and see if they are willing to share that opportunity with us,” Spruill said.

Although these are negotiations, Spruill said the acquisition will happen in some form or another, “It’s just a matter of how.”

The 51 acres are in different blocks, meaning the areas entirety is not solely up to one decision.

With the new land, Spruill said the possibility for tournaments would open the door for the city’s hotels and restaurants to be packed with visitors, boosting the two percent sales tax revenue.

Spruill said this will also help make Starkville a destination town, a brand the city is pursuing and one of
the platforms Spruill campaigned on.

“This goes hand in hand with that joint use agreement I want to have with the schools,” Spruill said. “So that we can have parks in local areas and then have that big sports facility opportunity for bringing in outside areas.”

Interim Director for Starkville parks and Recreation gerry Logan said he and his staff are excited to potentially get more space for the city’s parks.

He said expansion of the parks, and becoming a host for sports tournaments, is something the citizens have been anticipating and wanting for some time now.

“Assuming that we do get the additional acres, I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is just flexibility, providing us with some more options,” Logan said.