November 14, 2013 9:57:40 AM
The first step toward constructing a new Mississippi Highway Patrol headquarters for Troop G will occur Tuesday when Oktibbeha County formally donates a parcel of Cornerstone Park to the organization.
Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority President Jack Wallace and Sgt. Criss Turnipseed, a MHP public information officer, both confirmed a ceremony is tentatively planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Troop G's headquarters on Hwy. 182 for the deed transfer.
MHP has not revealed any construction plans or a timetable, but Turnipseed said the deed transfer is a significant step toward securing funding.
"It's coming," he said of construction efforts. "We have to have that deed in hand before we can go to the state. We're excited about the prospects and our relationship with Starkville and Oktibbeha County."
Wallace first told the Dispatch in January that Mississippi State University was asking MHP to relocate - Troop G's building is located on university property. He then suggested OCEDA offer the state land in the industrial park located on the southern side of the Miss. Highway 25 and Miss. Highway 12 bypass. The almost-230 acre industrial park is Oktibbeha County's most recent attempt to ready itself for prospective companies. It is still awaiting its first significant industrial investment.
In September, Wallace told the OCEDA board that the deal was "all but finalized" and he was ready to schedule an announcement once dignitaries became available.
"When industry comes to you these days, they want you to furnish land, and the MHP is no different," he said in January. "They have other options on where they could move, but selfishly we want to keep them in Oktibbeha County."
In addition to serving as the area's MHP base of operations, Troop G also provides residents with driver's license renewals and permits for firearms.
Mississippi is divided into three regions -- north, central and south -- and nine MHP districts, according to the organization's website, with troop headquarters in Batesville, Biloxi, Brookhaven, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Meridian, New Albany, Pearl and Starkville.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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