September 27, 2013 10:14:06 AM
Starkville Main Street Association will soon bid out the first phase of its Starkville Fire Station No. 1 improvement project, a plan which includes infrastructure and accessibility upgrades near the intersection of Lampkin and Montgomery streets, Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory confirmed Thursday.
SMSA received a $10,000 grant in January from the Mississippi Development Authority's Creative Economic Program for pedestrian improvements to and around the park. SMSA has until the end of the calendar year to match and execute the grant.
The project aims to revitalize an under-utilized green space in close proximity to downtown and the Cotton District. The project list includes improving sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths on Lampkin Street from Montgomery to the Russell Street intersection.
A sidewalk running parallel to the train tracks from University Drive to the Montgomery-Lampkin intersection was originally planned, but Gregory said that feature was adjusted to a boardwalk-styled walkway originating from University and connecting to the park's current walkway. Erosion issues in the park contributed to the plan's shift, she said. The idea originated from a design charrette class comprised of one of Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker's Mississippi State University landscape architecture classes.
Other charrette-produced designs could find their way into future project phases, Gregory and Walker said.
"Once the walkway is completed, we'll move quickly onto phase two," Gregory said.
The second phase will involve striping for crosswalks and bike paths.
All improvements will comply with the American with Disabilities Act. The park itself could become home to public art displays and events in the future.
Improvements to the Russell Street terminus fall in line with goals outlined in long-range planning, Gregory previously told the Dispatch. New businesses and developments, including the construction of Renasant Bank and the old Borden Milk plant's renovation into Central Station, have occurred over the recent years.
"It's the perfect spot for us to invest money and resources," she said in March. "We hope to see an immediate return-on-investment with access. Those projects make a huge difference but are costly. We are fortunate this grant will help further our dollars."
SMSA gave out its first yearly awards Thursday for local businesses who invested significant dollars in the downtown area this year. Award winners include: Sprout, Best Adaptive Re-Use Project; Ross, Kelley and Martin, PLLC, Best Historic Rehabilitation Project; Nine Twenty-Nine, Best Façade Rehabilitation Over $10,000; Renasant Bank, Best New Development Project; Aspen Bay, Best Creative Window Display; Deep South Pout, Merchant of the Year; and Starkville's government, Partner of the Year.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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