The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Charrette team makes plans for Starkville


    The city of Starkville will begin receiving a facelift in the next months and years to come.  

    City officials and the Economic Development Charrette Team met last week to discuss possible beautification changes in making Starkville more visually attractive and visitor friendly.  

    Some areas of concern mentioned in the meeting Thursday include Main Street and downtown, Highway 182 and historic building preservation.  

    Roy Ruby, chairman of the citizens’ committee, told the audience the organization has held several meetings and has made every effort to listen to the community to take the citizens’ input into consideration.  He said the committee is approaching a final recommendation that would be the most fiscally and economically responsible.  

    “We believe it would be prudent to renovate the old City Hall,” Ruby said.  “It can be gutted and have a complete renovation inside, and that would accommodate City Hall and City Court, except it isn’t quite large enough, so an annex and an addition would be put in the parking lot.”

    The designers are considering a new painting scheme to make the existing building more aesthetic.  

    Also, Starkville has adopted preservation procedures to enhance historical buildings in the city, such as in areas of the Greensboro Street District, Overstreet School District and the Nash Street Historic District.

    Another goal mentioned was to improve connectivity between Russell Street, the Cotton District and the downtown area by expanding businesses and placing banners around the city to capture the colors of the community.  These signs, along with additional lighting, will be installed to unify these areas.

    Randy Wilson, director of design services for Mississippi Main Street Association and project manager, said the design team toured the city, and said they hope their designs will capture the citizens’ ideas.

    “The consideration is to look more at a boulevard approach to Russell Street,” Wilson said. “By narrowing it down from four to three lanes, it [will] give pedestrians and bikers a lane. It makes it more attractive and gives a convenient [route] for students to get to school.” 

    Wilson also said there are several incremental changes that will be made along U.S. Highway 182. This includes repairing infrastructure issues, such as resurfacing the highway, adding trees and sidewalks, enhancing existing buildings and adding new development along the roadway. 

    Bob Wilson, executive director of the Mississippi Main Street Association, said even though Starkville is growing and changing, the idea is to keep the same core and feelings that exist in Starkville. He also said the expense and extent of these projects will determine how long it will take to begin implementation. 

    “The bigger the project, the longer it’s going to take,” Wilson said. “I would imagine the first thing to happen in Starkville is the branding. When the logos get out there, there is a buzz about the town [as] they are buying into the process.”

    Through a zip code survey, the team analyzed how to bring growth to retail and residential areas in the community. The team hope marketing techniques such as the execution of a “Bulldog Brunch and Browse” on Sundays will give businesses an incentive to be open on Sundays for people who come into the area.

    Mayor Parker Wiseman said the team has done an excellent job of tying together the assets that are currently growing. As soon as the policy for implementation develops, city officials will know how much the projects will cost, he said.

    “The future of downtown Starkville stands to benefit greatly from the vision put forth by the charrette team,” Wiseman said, “Taking an approach with policy development that builds upon the unique character already budding in the districts of downtown Starkville identified by the team will pay dividends over the long term.” 

    Wilson said the team of designers promised to help Starkville during this long transition process.

    “We don’t want to pass the ball off and say ‘good luck,'” Wilson said. “We want to hold your hand and give consistent guidance every step of the way.” 

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    Charrette team makes plans for Starkville