Roses and thorns: 2-9-20




A rose to the city of Columbus, which moved quickly to address safety issue at the pedestrian bridge at the Columbus Riverwalk. City engineer Kevin Stafford confirmed the bridge has partially pulled away from one of the three concrete pillars. The city acted in an abundance of caution in closing the bridge pending further inspections and repairs. No doubt, some will seize this as an opportunity to attack city and county government, which partnered with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to convert the old bridge to a pedestrian walkway that would complement the Riverwalk complex. The two local governments provided $500,000 of the $2.2 million needed. Stafford noted that engineers examined the structure, including the pillars, in 2011 when the project began. So whatever caused the problem transpired since then and cannot be fairly considered a failure of due diligence. So let's put aside the temptation to criticize and look ahead to a solution. Since its competition in the fall of 2013, the pedestrian bridge has enhanced our city. We look forward to a solution and commend the city for its abundance of caution in addressing the situation.



A rose to the Starkville Rotary Club after reaching a notable milestone. Friday and Saturday marked the Rotary Club's 15th Starkville Rotary Classic Rodeo, held each year at the Mississippi Horse Park. Under the Rotary Club's direction, the rodeo has grown and improved with each passing year. It's truly one of the big events in town, one whose benefits go far beyond a weekend's entertainment. The rodeo is Rotary's biggest fund-raiser, providing $20,000 to $25,000 annually, money the club uses for a wide variety of community programs. The rodeo could not succeed without an army of volunteers and, of course, the patronage of the public, which has turned out in impressive numbers to enjoy the show and support their community through the dollars they spend at the event.




A rose to the Lowndes County Supervisors who have agreed to a recommendation from the Golden Triangle Development LINK to provide a fee-in-lieu agreement that could pave the way for a large-scale solar farm. Pending an agreement between the solar energy company Origis and TVA, the plans call for a $200 million investment for the project, which would be built west of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. When completed, the farm would generate 200 megawatts annually, with a potential of 350 megawatts should the company expand to available space at the site. For 10 years, the fee-in-lieu would generate around $900,000 in combined county and school taxes before converting to full taxes when the fee-in-lieu expires. In the meantime, it will create hundreds of construction jobs while giving the county the ability to produce and retain clean solar energy on a large scale. Although the deal isn't final, the opportunity is exciting.



A rose to Patrick Warner, who was selected by the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors as the county's new fire services coordinator. Warner faces a tall task in taking over the job from Kirk Rosenhans, who announced his decision to retire in December and has held the job since its inception in 1988. Warner appears well-qualified for the position, with 15 years of service with the county's fire service. The Winston County native and Mississippi State graduate is a member of both the Mississippi Task Force and the National Volunteer Fire Council. He's also an associate instructor at Mississippi Fire Academy. We wish Warner great success in this important position.




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