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City, county to get public input on recreation


Kristin Mamrack



The City Council Tuesday agreed to attend a public meeting Feb. 10 to get citizen input on recreation needs in the city and county. 


"We really would like your input," Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Mackay said, addressing the public. "We want positive input." 


The City Council, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors and the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority Board of Directors are expected to attend the meeting, during which public comments on recreation needs and problems in the city and county will be sought. 


"But to mention a problem, you also must have a solution for that problem," Mackay added. 


The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the courtroom of the Municipal Complex. 


"The main thing we want to do is talk about what we can do to move parks and recreation forward," Mackay said this morning. "Our goal is to set a plan so that the parks and (recreation department) can move forward. Our intent is to get citizens'' input for possible suggestions for additional programs and recreational activities that will enhance the city and county." 


Residents unable to attend the meeting are encouraged to submit comments by e-mail to [email protected] or by postal mail to the mayor''s office at P.O. Box 1408, Columbus, MS 39703. 


Comments e-mailed or mailed must be received by noon Tuesday, Mackay said. 


"We''re looking for suggestions to help invigorate Parks and Rec, to make the quality of life of citizens more better and give them more options of recreational things to do," she said. "We want to encourage the public to think about options, whether it''s been places they''ve visited on vacation or places they''ve lived, and to bring those ideas to the table.  


"It''s going to take a little while," she added of plans coming to fruition. "We understand the economy''s bad, but you have to have a plan to start." 


In other matters, the council: 




  • Heard a request to waive a fee charged for use of the Trotter Convention Center. 


    Oliver Miller asked the council to waive the fee for a March 6 fight at the Trotter, featuring a former Olympian. 


    "Most of the money" raised from the $20 to $25 admission prices likely to be charged at the event will "pay for the purses of the fighters," Miller said, noting the fee should be waived because of the "intense crowd we are expecting." 


    The council took the request under advisement; no action was taken. 


  • Approved a request to hire six police officers, contingent on successful completion of pre-employment medical evaluations, drug screens and psychological evaluations of the officers. 


  • Approved an interlocal agreement for Lowndes County Tax Assessor/Collector Greg Andrews to collect the city''s motor vehicle taxes. 


    A related agreement was approved Monday by the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. 


    Andrews will collect the taxes for a 2.4 percent fee, which equates to a single payment of $55,000. 


  • Approved a request, made by Federal Programs and Building Inspections Director George Irby and Columbus Convention and Visitors'' Bureau Director James Tsismanakis, to advertise for professional services for the Trotter Convention Center. 


    Irby explained Tsismanakis would like to add renovations to the Trotter Convention Center to a "wish list" currently being prepared by city, county and economic development officials in anticipation of receiving federal funds from an economic stimulus package expected to be passed by the United States'' Congress. 


    Only "shovel-ready" projects are likely to receive any funds, Irby said, noting advertising for proposals on architectural services would get the city and CVB "ahead of the game" in submitting the Trotter for potential funding. 


    The council agreed and unanimously approved the request. 


    Money to fix drainage issues still is the city''s "top priority" for funding requests, Irby noted. 


  • Approved the addition of smokeless tobacco to the city''s non-smoking policy. 


    The city''s employee handbook will be amended to prohibit use of any tobacco products on city property. 


    n Approved a request to fill an animal control officer vacancy. The filling of the position means the city and county will be fully staffed jointly with three full-time animal control officers, said Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John. 


    n Approved a traffic calming device and three-way stop sign addition for the intersection of 10th Avenue and 10th Street (Highland Circle.) 


    City Engineer Kevin Stafford reported crews will "re-work" a speed bump, to make it more effective, install the stop sign and "stripe the curb for no parking." 





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