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Municipal complex plans moving slowly

 

Tim Pratt

 

STARKVILLE -- The effort to build a new municipal complex in Starkville is moving slowly but surely, Mayor Parker Wiseman said Friday, but the city is not yet ready to release details about potential locations.  

 


"The task for us as we bring this project up again is to cull the information that is still useful from past efforts (to build a municipal complex) and then, when we''re satisfied we''ve got a manageable directive that is ready for public input, we will move the project into the public''s eye," Wiseman said. "Our office is certainly doing regular work on the project and the Board (of Aldermen) is providing input, but the project is not currently at a stage that is ready for the public." 

 


The city  is looking at several sites, including one on Highway 182, where Lafayette Street ends between Jackson Street and D.L. Connor Drive, Wiseman said. He wouldn''t disclose any other potential locations.  

 


"There are others, but what we''re doing right now is evaluating the pros and cons associated with all potential sites," Wiseman said.  

 


Wiseman this summer said he would like the city to form a committee, possibly with a representative from each of Starkville''s seven wards, to research the possibilities for a new complex. That committee still has not been organized.  

 


The existing City Hall building at one time was an armory, Wiseman said, and was donated to the city in 1968. The building houses the offices of the mayor, city department heads and other personnel, as well as Municipal Court and Starkville Police Department. 

 


City officials have long complained about the aging structure. It also was the focus of the 2005 municipal election, when Dan Camp was elected mayor and pledged to have a new facility built. The project nearly came to fruition, but city residents ultimately defeated the proposal in a referendum. 

 


Wiseman this summer said he believes the project will have to be funded by bonds and he predicted a referendum by summer of 2010. But Friday morning the mayor was leery to give a timetable.  

 


"It''s hard to put a concrete timeline on it because some of the information that we''re waiting on requires work to be done and it''s always hard to anticipate exactly when that work will be completed," Wiseman said. "I don''t want us to begin pushing decisions forward on a project until we''re sure we have adequate information, but there''s no question that a resolution needs to be reached as soon as possible." 

 


"The need that all of the city staff located in our current City Hall facility feels is expressed daily," he added. 

 


One of the problems with the site proposed several years ago was the fact that it was off the Highway 25 bypass, on the west side of Starkville near George M. Bryan Field, Wiseman said. If a new municipal complex is built, Wiseman believes it will be closer to downtown. 

 


"The turn that the project took in and after the 2005 election was toward a project that is more centrally located," Wiseman said. "I think it''s fair to say that all of the research that we''re doing right now is in keeping with a wish that we still believe is present in the community to have a centrally located kind of place."

 

 

 

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