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Developer Interested in Purchasing Former Lee Middle School Site

 

Developer Interested in Purchasing Former Lee Middle School Site

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

A developer that has not yet been named has expressed interest in the former Lee Middle School property on Military Road near the Bluecutt Road intersection (photo courtesy of The DIspatch)

An unnamed developer has expressed interest in purchasing the former Lee Middle School property on Military Road.

John Acker, president of the Columbus Redevelopment Authority, said that the developer has entered an option with the CRA to purchase the approx. 15-acre site for commercial development. The potential buyer has requested anonymity for now, Acker said.

“They will be conducting due diligence and have until late May 2018 to finalize purchase or walk away,” Acker said in an email to The Dispatch.

Appraisal Services in Columbus estimates that the cost to develop the property could range between $1.1 million and $1.8 million.

 

The buildings on the property are known to have asbestos present, which any buyer would have to remove, which is quite expensive; however, the Mississippi Economic Redevelopment Act includes provisions which would allow the buyer to recoup up to two and a half times the clean-up costs over a period of up to 15 years.

Please click here for the full article.

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Allegro to Acquire North Columbus Medical Clinic & Lowndes Medical Clinic

Allegro to Acquire North Columbus Medical Clinic & Lowndes Medical Clinic

PRESS RELEASE (excerpt) – Courtesy of the C-L Chamber of Commerce

COLUMBUS, MS – November 28, 2017

Allegro Family Clinics, a subsidiary of Dutch Health Services, Inc., announced today that it will acquire two clinics in Columbus, MS from North Mississippi Medical Clinics, Inc. – the North Columbus Medical Clinic, located at 4508 Highway 45 North, and the Lowndes Medical Clinic, located at 56 Dutch Lane. The purchase will be effective December 1, 2017.

Patients should expect only a change in name, not in the care they have come to expect at these clinics.  Practitioners have stated that only the names have changed, and that they look forward to offering the same great service as always. The North Columbus Medical Clinic will become the Allegro Family Clinic of North Columbus, and the Lowndes Medical Clinic will be renamed the Allegro Family Clinic of East Columbus. Clinic telephone numbers will remain the same.

“Our addition of these two clinics strengthens our ability to provide families in the Lowndes County area with convenient, high-quality medical care focused on the needs of the patients. The providers and staff at the new clinics are exceptional and experienced,” said Joe Gillis, founder of Dutch Health Services. “This investment represents an important strategic commitment to improving the health of the people of Columbus and Lowndes County, and we look forward to collaborating with North Mississippi Health Services to achieve this mission for our patients.”

Please click here for the full text of the press release.

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GT Regional Airport Doing Record Business

GT Regional Airport Doing Record Business

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Warren Housley, left, visits with Golden Triangle Regional Airport Director Mike Hainsey. The airport director spoke to Starkville Rotary Club on Monday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Golden Triangle Regional Airport Director Mike Hainsey recently spoke to the Starkville Rotary Club, where he told them that the airport has been doing record business: “Last month, we put more people on airplanes than any other October in the history of the airport,” he said. “That was a big number — we were running 90 percent full. … This month, we’re doing the same, which means we’ll have another record month. We’ll have a record November, if it continues.”

The airport, has done about $3.5 million in improvements in the last 18 months. Hainsey said that the improvements include work on the commercial and general aviation ramps, as well as a taxiway renovation that should finish this week. GTRA is also replacing old ramp and terminal lightning with more modern, energy efficient lights.

A 4,000 sq ft expansion is also in the works:”Our plan for the future is, as the airport grows, we’ll have bigger airplanes and we’ll need jet bridges so we’ll move everything upstairs,” he said.

He did note, however, that a shortage of pilots for the major airlines is likely to cause business to suffer in the future – especially for GTR and other smaller, regional airports: “This is, for us in the business, the single biggest threat to air service at my airport,” Hainsey said.

 

While airports are able to offer incentives to get more flights coming through them, the issue isn’t that, so much as the fact that the pilot population is dwindling as more and more pilots reach the mandatory pilot retirement age of 65. “They told me they have no new markets out of Dallas this next year,” he said. “They don’t know if they can man their existing markets. They can’t grow if they can’t — until it’s sure what’s going to happen with the pilot shortage. It’s getting that bad.”

“The bottom line on all this–for us to get air service, we have to take it from someone else,” he said. ” … For us to get air service, we’ll have to convince the airlines they’ll make more money at GTR than they will at other places. So we’re working that. We have a good case.”

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Bring Your Kids, Bring Your Cameras, and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting and Caroling Downtown!

Bring Your Kids and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting Downtown!

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Tonight is the annual lighting of the biggest and best Christmas tree around, says Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow: “Everyone is invited to gather from 5:30-7 p.m. at the east end of the Tombigbee pedestrian bridge where the city will have one of the beautiful magnolia trees decorated.”

Kylee Price, then 3, is held up by her father Eliot Price during the 2015 Christmas tree lighting at the Riverwalk. This year’s official lighting festivities are Monday from 5:30-7 p.m. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Fourth graders from Cook Elementary will be singing carols starting at 5:30PM, and Mayor Robert Smith will light the tree at about 6:15 p.m. Kids will be able to make craft items to take home, and everyone will have hot chocolate and cookies; representatives will also be accepting new, unwrapped toys for children aged 3 to 12 for the community toy drive.

Santa & Miz Claus will be on hand, along with a professional shutterbug to help preserve memories of the night’s festivities. Local event sponsors include Rex’s Rentals; Colin Krieger, RE/MAX Partners, Starkville-Columbus; DMayfield Photography; Visit Columbus; McAlister’s; and Coffeehouse on 5th.

“We hope everyone will bring their friends and families and enjoy this free community event,” said Bigelow. “This beautiful evening will give all kids, young and old, a wonderful, joyous time together — a night of family fun.”

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Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett of Columbus Brick. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett, the latest generation of owners at Columbus Brick Company, recently sold the company to Tennessee-based General Shale, more than 120 years after the company’s original founding by his great-great-grandfather. Puckett sees all of his workers and managers as family, and the sales agreement will see to it that they all keep their jobs, and, in fact, will be vital to bringing the business forward into the 21st century.

“[General Shale’s people] want everybody to stay,” Puckett said. “They will not put a person here. I’m going to stay on for at least four years and our general manager, Ed Thebaud, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations. Nobody is going to lose their job. It’s Columbus Brick, and it will stay that way.”

Puckett notes that this decision has been under consideration for many years, and is not one he took lightly: “Sure, there are always things you want to pursue,” he said. “But life is life. You may want those things, but really, what you have to do is walk through the doors that are before you.”

From left, Columbus Brick Company employees Kenneth Webb, Carl Summerville and Randy Macon shape bricks. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Today, the company cranks out 140 million bricks every month, a volume which would have been unheard of back in the 1800s. Back then, you could find brickmakers just about everywhere; these days, not so much. However, Puckett says that his company is thriving in a day when the industry itself is on the verge of dying out: “The company is in great shape,” he said. “It’s not like (the sale) was something we were forced into. . . Our industry is in dire straits, about 30 percent of the brick companies are sitting idle, so nobody needs to go buy more capacity,” he added. “I think probably the biggest thing we were known for is the people we have accumulated. I’m often told I have the best people in the industry. I think that’s what made us appealing to General Shale. They know us. We know them.”

 

 

For the full article, please click here.

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MSU’s New Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach Holds Open House in Starkville

MSU’s New Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach Holds Open House in Starkville

Courtesy of the MSU Newsroom

 

Pictured touring new business conference space designated for the MSU CEO Downtown at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership are (from left to right) Jacob Miller, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Lucedale who has started a company called Black Creek Innovation; GSDP President and CEO Scott Maynard; Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill; MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald; Jeffrey Rupp, outreach director for MSU’s College of Business; Jerry Toney, president of Cadence Bank for Mississippi and national treasurer for the MSU Alumni Association; Rahul Gopal, MSU graduate and founder and CEO of CampusKnot Inc. and Benjamin Jordon, an MSU senior finance major from Starkville who also is vice president of sales for CampusKnot Inc. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—

MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, also known as the CEO, and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership recently held an open house in order to show off a special space that has been designated for business use by the university

“This is a very unique town and gown situation, and we have full support from the mayor and [MSU President] Dr. Keenum,” said Jeffrey Rupp, MSU outreach director for the College of Business.

“My hope is that we will have an explosion of this type of business activity. Entrepreneurs become tenants who become long-term tenants and residents of the community and a major part of the fabric of our overall town,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said.

Scott Maynard, GSDP president and CEO, spoke to the explosion of local entrepreneurs who are in need of dedicated, proper place to do business: “At the beginning of the year, we’ll open four additional office suites to be used as incubator space for new businesses,” said Maynard, who was named to his position this year after a long career as director of MSU’s Career Center.

Rahul Gopal, one such young entrepreneur, gave commentary from his own perspective: “Having this space lends legitimacy,” he explained. “You need to get people to a place where they are serving the community. It’s nice to have space where people can stop by and we can host meetings.”

Please click here for the full article.

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[VIDEO RELEASE] Lt. Governor Tate Reeves on the State’s Economic Future

[VIDEO RELEASE] Lt. Governor Tate Reeves on the State’s Economic Future

Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Starkville Daily News recently spoke with Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, who was able to share some of his insights on economic growth and development following his visit with the Starkville Rotary Club.

 

Source: http://starkvilledailynews.com/content/sdn-exclusive-lt-gov-tate-reeves-talks-economic-development

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Starkville’s Newest (And Only) Vinyl Record Store to Open This Week

Starkville’s Newest (And Only) Vinyl Record Store to Open This Week

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Scooter’s Records on University Drive in Starkville (photo courtesy of SDN – Ryan Philips)

Independent vinyl record shop, Scooter’s Records, moved into a former tanning salon’s location on University Drive this October; its owner, Scott Thomas, has been working hard since then to make his dream a reality: “I wanted to be where there’s walking traffic,” Thomas said. “If I had to be in a strip mall or on Highway 12, I didn’t think that was going to work out for me or I would be happy. I wanted to be in the middle of the students.” Plans are to formally open this Wednesday, making it Starkville’s only dedicated record store; he hopes to hold a formal Grand Opening sometime after Thanksgiving. At first, he will be open from 11AMto 8PM, seven days a week, though his hours may change based on how much business he gets, church crowds on Sundays, etc.

 

Thomas is excited about the prospect of filling this increasingly popular niche, and he is eagerly looking forward to future endeavors: “Eventually, I would like to get coffee into my place and push the hours back, open up earlier so people could come in and do coffee,” Thomas said. “ I want to have, when the weather is nice, set up a tent out front and still do these pop-up things.”

Thomas used to work for the City of Starkville; after 28 years of service, he retired and decided to dedicate his time to starting his own business. While he first became interested back in the early 90’s, he noted that “…records were going away,” Thomas said. “Records are going back in style and all of the college towns around here have record stores.”

Please click here for the full article.

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MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Scott Waller, interim CEO and president of the Mississippi Economic Council, speaks to Starkville Rotarians Monday at The Mill at MSU. Waller addressed the need for workforce development to help improve Mississippi’s economy. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Scott Waller, interim president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) recently addressed the Starkville Rotary Club. While there, he stated that Mississippi, in order to improve itself economically and rise to its potential, must begin to find new ways to continue improving its economic development; he feels that a strong focus on workforce development is the key to our future. He went on to ask his audience what they believed were the most important factors in helping our state to improve. The results were: 58% said that we need a skilled workforce more than anything else; 27% emphasized the need to improve the state’s image; and fewer than 10% of respondents said that lowering taxes, improving infrastructure, or other concserns should be the top priority.

Waller then revealed that their responses were in line with many other groups he had met with across the state, and that most people agreed that we need to help our workforce grow more skilled: “Today alone, there are over 40,000 unfilled jobs in the state of Mississippi,” Waller said. “If we don’t work on having a skilled workforce, we definitely are going to miss out on those opportunities, particularly when it comes to population growth.”

Waller also addressed an umber of other concerns from those present, but he still feels that “…[W]hat we’re learning is workforce development is probably at the top of the list as it would stand.”

To close the meeting, Waller asked what audience members what they felt was the most important aspect to make a positive impact in the community. Forty-four percent chose improving schools, which was the highest of six choices. Improving the workforce, which drew 33 percent, was the second-highest choice by far.

Waller said that strengthening the workforce is a challenge that must begin early on in life, from pre-kindergarten to lifelong learning: “What it tells me when I see these results is at least I think we’re focused on the right thing,” he said. “We’re focused on the thing that’s going to make a difference and move the needle as we move forward.”

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Atmos Energy Moving, Consolidating GTR Offices Into One New Location

Atmos Energy Moving, Consolidating GTR Offices Into One New Location

GTR Area – Courtesy of the Dispatch –

Atmos Energy, its Columbus office shown here, is working on consolidating its three Golden Triangle offices into one central location by spring.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Michelle Whittle has stated that Atmos plans to consolidate three of their three existing “District 45” offices (The GTR plus Monroe & Tupelo Counties) into one new office, once funding has been finalized: “Our plans are for us to begin construction on our new office hopefully by spring,” Whittle said. “We most likely will sell the other three facilities.” The proposed new location is planned to be located next to Wade Construction on South Frontage Road, a few miles west of Columbus, and is expected to hold about fifty employees. The new location will serve Clay, Lowndes, and Oktibbeha counties.

The location is also a bit more centralized, and Whittle remarked that advancements in technology have made it easier to handle a spread-out service team more easily from a single dispatching area. The new office is intended to make much better use of space (for example, it will not serve as a showroom for selling heaters and similar products like the old office(s).

“All of us will move,” she went on to say. “Every one of us — we have about 28 employees. We all will begin reporting to the new office. We’re all excited about it. It’s going to be really nice.”

For the full article, please click here.

 

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