April 2, 2011 9:20:00 PM
The end is near for the city''s municipal complex building committee.
The nine-member citizen committee has been meeting every two weeks or so for the past six months working to solve the conundrum of Starkville''s need for a new building to house administrators, police or both. But with the Mississippi Main Street Association charrette come and gone, all that remains for the committee is making its official recommendation to the Board of Aldermen.
"I guess we''ll have at least one more meeting to finalize the recommendation," said committee member Dr. Roy Ruby. "The bulk of the effort is about done."
The committee settled on its recommendation of purchasing the lot north of Highway 182 between Jackson Street and Washington Street for a new police station weeks ago, but withheld its official recommendation at the request of city officials to give the charrette team a chance to weigh in.
"The charrette team thought the plan was very good. There was no disagreement," said Ruby. "The only thing they did different was recommend moving the facility to the center of the block rather than the (Jackson) corner."
The Highway 182 location was chosen after months of discussion and debate. It satisfies the request to keep the police station downtown while simultaneously adding value to the adjacent lots, which could spur development on the neglected street. Plus it allows police easy access to the city along the north/south axis of Jackson Street and the east/west axis of Highway 182.
Furthermore, City Hall will remain a viable building and may even expand into the parking lot where the police currently park. The committee received reports on the building which confirmed it remains "rock solid with no weight bearing walls," and thus easy to renovate.
The plan seems obvious now, but when you get 11 people together, a consensus is going to take a while.
"We considered beaucoudles of sites all over town," said Ruby.
Robbie Coblentz, owner of Broadcast Media, serves on the committee with Ruby.
"There were some wide viewpoints. We talked through so many different options. Everyone weighed in with the pros and cons, but it was very respectful and really positive," said Coblentz.
One proposal would have put the facility on Reed Road. Another recommended the bypass. There was also a suggestion to place the facility on the south side of Highway 182, across the street from the current recommendation, but that parcel has 11 different owners and nobody wanted the headache of negotiating with them all.
Ruby said the municipal building committee served its purpose well and served each demographic in the city, both male and female, black and white.
"We had a wide spectrum of the population represented. We had a graduate student, a couple professors, a retired school administrator, an insurance executive, a retiree who moved back to Starkville from Chicago, a retired city engineer. We had a lot of different perspectives," he said.
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