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'A lot of momentum' in Starkville

 

Mayor Lynn Spruill talks with Stuart Vance after speaking to Starkville Rotarians at the Starkville Country Club Monday afternoon.

Mayor Lynn Spruill talks with Stuart Vance after speaking to Starkville Rotarians at the Starkville Country Club Monday afternoon. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

 

Slim Smith

 

 

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill had two apologies to make before starting her presentation at the Starkville Rotary Club Monday at Starkville Country Club. 

 

But neither of those apologies were about anything Spruill has done as her first six months as mayor -- instead, Spruill noted her raspy voice, something she's been fighting for a couple of weeks now. Second, was a preemptive apology for anything that might result from her first PowerPoint presentation. 

 

"Someone said if I had belonged to a younger generation, I would have learned PowerPoint in the Navy," said Spruill, a former Navy and commercial pilot. "Then, I was just happy learning how to fly an airplane." 

 

In aviation terms, Spruill flew through her presentation with little turbulence, landing at the scheduled time. 

 

Spruill used PowerPoint illustrations to support her speech, which focused on the city's achievements so far during her tenure as mayor. 

 

"I'd like to say that everything we have going on is from my administration," Spruill said, "but every administration builds on the administrations that come before. There were a lot of code changes that had to be made, especially in Parker's first administration, that made a difference, no matter how you slice it." 

 

Spruill outlined the major achievements the city has made by month, beginning in July, soon after she was sworn in as mayor, with the approval of $7 million in bonds to support the new industrial park. In August the city took up amending the city's billboard ordinances. In September, the city approved its budget without a tax increase, while also amending its alcohol ordinance that expanded hours businesses can serve alcohol and reduced the minimum distance such businesses can be from a church, school or funeral home. 

 

"I realized it was controversial," Spruill said. "I ran on this, it was part of my platform, because I thought that this was critical to allow the area of our downtown to bring in more restaurants." 

 

In October the city approved an annexation study to bring in areas that could expand the city's population by almost 25 percent to 30,000. 

 

"This is purely a study," Spruill said. "We are looking to see if it would be feasible with being exorbitantly expensive for residents or the city. We're looking at people who are enjoying the benefits of living in an urban area without sharing the expenses that go along with it. My hope is that we find it feasible." 

 

In November the city approved $7 million in capital improvements -- primarily for streets and signals -- and announced an effort to put together a committee to see whether the city and the school district can work together to open some school athletics facilities to public use during non-school hours. 

 

Spruill said the city also approved an appraisal of approximately 30 acres adjacent to the Sportsplex for possible expansion. 

 

In December the city approved the billboard ordinance which Spruill said reduces the maximum size and frequency of billboards in the city. 

 

Generally, Spruill said, the boom in commercial development, along with the national exposure the city has received through Mississippi State's success in sports has created a buzz in the city. 

 

"We have a lot of excitement, a lot of momentum," she said.

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

 

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