January 27, 2010 9:38:00 AM
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville Board of Aldermen is making progress on its quest to build a new municipal complex in the city.
During a lengthy weekend work session, the board set an unofficial timeline for how to proceed with a municipal complex project.
By the end of February, the board hopes to determine a potential site and the feasibility of that site, Mayor Parker Wiseman said. March through July is a "little more open-ended," but the city hopes to hire a consultant or an expert, such as an architect, to perform additional work on the project, Wiseman said.
"We''d like somebody who can work through more than just broad concepts so, essentially, you can put space dimensions, particular types of buildings and layouts on the particular site you have identified, and what the cost of those different options will be," Wiseman said.
Another open-ended issue is whether or not the board forms a committee to work with the consultant, which would provide feedback so the city can have a "pretty firm proposal" by the end of July, Wiseman said. The committee, which is still in the theoretical stage, potentially could have representatives from each of the city''s seven wards, plus experts in planning, architecture and other fields.
Wiseman hopes the board can hold a series of public forums from July through September, where the city can take a concept and receive additional public feedback.
"Then we can incorporate that feedback into the proposal," Wiseman said.
The final part of the process, Wiseman said, is to get a ballot question ready for a referendum on a proposed complex.
"It''s certainly premature to know what the financial outlook for a project like this would be because the project hasn''t been born yet, but it''s fair to say the project in all likelihood will require a bond issue, which is one reason you would take it to the public in a referendum," Wiseman said. "The other (reason) is, given the history of this project, the public does have an expectation that there will come a time when they can weigh in on it. We hope to incorporate public input throughout the project."
Former Mayor Dan Camp attempted to build a municipal complex during his four-year term, but the issue divided the city and ultimately failed when it came to a referendum.
Wiseman and the current Board of Aldermen plan to meet again Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Greater Starkville Development Partnership building to continue talking about their goals for the city. As part of the weekend work session, the board discussed the municipal complex, the city''s comprehensive plan, regionalization and the image of Starkville. The meeting Friday will continue with talk about Starkville''s image to outsiders, plus discussion about infrastructure and city services, Wiseman said.
All seven aldermen were at the work session this weekend.