The city of Starkville moved closer to making its Streatery concept a reality Tuesday night.

The Starkville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a consideration of using tactical urbanism to create the outdoor dining area downtown. The proposed area would be 115 feet wide and 14 feet deep, and would take up nine parking spaces between Restaurant Tyler and Moe’s Original BBQ downtown. The board heard a presentation on the concept from Carl Small Town Center Director Leah Kemp at its previous Friday work session.

The board also unanimously approved holding the first public hearing for a temporary go-cup ordinance to go along with the Streatery.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said Tuesday night’s vote was primarily to see the level of interest before proceeding with the idea. A more detailed version of the plan will go before the board in July.

“I wanted to make sure that they were OK with it before we got into some in-depth determinations of the size and materials and that sort of thing,” Spruill said. “We will come back with a plan and a placement and ideas and let them see that, and then move forward.”

Spruill said the Streatery might be funded in part by GoFundMe donors.

“We’ve got a little bit in the beautification fund, but given the times, we’re trying to save as much as possible,” Spruill said. “If we’ve got anybody out there who would like to [participate either in-kind, or participate in some of the work getting done, or participate with some of the materials, it would be wonderful. “

In her presentation on Friday, Kemp said the cost to build the Streatery would range between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the choice of the materials, with cinderblock construction being the least expensive option. Participating restaurants would furnish tables and chairs, and some solar-powered lighting was also included in the original design.

In addition to the Streatery items, the board also unanimously approved the hire of Craig Dolan to serve as the city’s next parks and recreation director. Dolan currently serves as recreation superintendent of Tarpon Springs, Florida, and was one of two finalists interviewed for the position at the board’s Friday work session. The second finalist was Thomas Peters, who serves as interim director of wellness and intramurals at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

The board approved Dolan’s hire at a salary of $80,000, with a start date of Aug. 1. However, Dolan had not yet been offered the position as of Tuesday evening. Both candidates were interviewed virtually on Friday, and neither was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

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