August 27, 2011 10:35:00 PM
As most people are aware, the citizens of this community on Sept. 27 are being provided an opportunity to support an issue that is absolutely vital to the continued growth of Starkville. A YES vote on the bond referendum for a new police station is absolutely necessary for our city''s future.
Yes, the present time is enduring bad economic difficulties but we as a community must arise above this while looking toward the future.
Here are some reasons that I strongly support this bond issue.
* Current police square footage is 8,162
* Needs assessment calls for 26, 400 square ft.
* Current location is the only headquarters the Police Department has ever occupied - beginning in 1968
* SPD had 18 officers in 1075; currently has 53 officers
* Starkville''s population in 1975 - 11,369; in 2010 - 23,868
* Space constraints results:
-- No crime lab - former crime lab is now an office
-- No interview room - now an office
-- In sufficient storage space - and what is available is subject to frequent flooding
-- Not ADA compliant
-- Not fire code compliant
-- No locker space exists for the officers
-- Not enough parking
-- No secured parking
If one carefully reads the above list, then any doubts about voting yes should be permanently removed. Our police officers place their lives on the line every time they begin their shift. They are a precious resource and our responsibility is to see that they have the safest and best working environment possible.
We have a safe community - let us keep it that way. Let us be the community that rises to the challenges of tomorrow. Vote YES on Sept. 27.
Mary Lee Beal
The writer was Starkville alderman for Ward 1 from 1977 to 1997.