The Mississippi Senate approved HB 1565 this week with a 51-1 vote. As it is believed that the Governor will sign it into law soon. The new law will add 1% to the existing 2% restaurant tax, which is expected to bring in about $2 million in its first year. Local Aldermen have begun discussions on how to move forward with the proposed Cornerstone Park project, with a final cost estimated to be around $18-22 million.
The model for Cornerstone – Vicksburg’s Sports Force Park – has turned out to be a massive success in a very short time, so following their lead is the current plan. The City of Starkville plans to build a tournament-ready recreation facility at Cornerstone Park on Highway 25. Once the bill is signed, it will go to the people for a referendum, which requires a 60% approval in order to pass.
Part of the Pilgrimage once again, restoration on Clay County’s Waverly Mansion have been moving forward at full tilt. Hundreds of visitors come there every year for the Pilgrimage, even in its partially-restored status, to see its beauty and wonder what it will look like when it’s all done.
Catfish in the Alley – This Saturday, March 30th in Columbus’ own Catfish Alley just South of Main Street. Great food, great music, and lots of friends hanging around and having a great time! The shindig starts at 7:30 AM and lasts until 3:30 PM.
The 11th annual Catfish in the Alley Celebration will take place right outside of Jones Restaurant.
This year’s musical line up includes: 10 AM-11 AM | Big Joe Shelton & The Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM | Terry “Harmonica” Bean
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Grady Champion
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM | Keith “The Prince of the Delta Blues” Johnson Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band
Mississippi Bass Tournament – This Saturday, March 30th. Pickwick Landing State Park. Bass tournament benefitting Sheltering Tree Ranch. $100 entry fee with optional $10 lunker pot. 75% payback, 25% to the ranch. 15″ size limit; 5 fish. Safe light til 3:00. I will be at the post office near the park entrance around 4:45 or so to check folks in. If you don’t know about the ranch and their work, look them up. Awesome people and awesome ministry. Share and plan on coming out Saturday. Gonna be a good day!
The MSU Bulldogs have three games against LSU in the next few days. The games will be played in Starkville at Dudy Noble Field: This Thursday and Friday at 6 PM, and this Saturday at 2 PM Come on out and support your local team!
The Blues for Willie tribute concert, originally scheduled for this month, has been pushed back to April 26th. More info at the link below.
While smaller businesses often have to work that much harder in order to compete with large corporations, many have found that catering to game day crowds is a formula for success. Some have even changed their operating hours to account for the games, to their benefit. Tourists come in droves to support their college teams and local shops, and THAT’S Good for Business!
Have bad credit in need of repair because of erroneous information on it that you’ve not been able to get corrected? Swing on by and see what these fine folks can do for you.
PRESS RELEASE – Courtesy of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce – COLUMBUS, MS
Congratulations Generational Credit on your Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening! Welcome to the Chamber of Commerce! Corey Lockett and Cary Black can help you improve your credit and prepare you & your family for financial success.
They are located at 118 South McCrary Road, Suite 102 in the Fairlane Office Center in Columbus, MS, just East of Fairview Elementary School.
GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch
Starkville’s new hand-made chicken salad joint, Chicken Salad Chick, 602 Hwy 12 E., will open for business this coming Tuesday. The first person through the door that day (at 10:30 AM) wins free “quick chick” salads every week for a year, and the next 99 guests will win monthly free salads.
Eric Hallberg owner of the Chicken Salad Chick, also owns and runs The Breakfast Club at 105 Eckford Dr. As his other venue, Cappe’s in the Park, has closed, he is combing the menus from both places for his Eckford Dr. location.
A new restaurant, The Library, 101 N. Jackson St., opened inside the Hotel Chester not long ago. Hotel Chester owner, David Mollendor, says that The Library will offer spirits, steak, seafood, salads and appetizers: “The emphasis is on wine and distilled spirits at The Library,” Mollendor said. “Our idea is we do a few things and we do those things exceptionally well.”
Over in West Point: Healthy Habits WP has opened its doors at 586 Commerce St. quite recently. Employee Heather Ross explained that “It’s an opportunity for people to get out of their houses,” Ross said. “Everyone that has come in has been really excited. This is something West Point really needed.”
In Columbus food news, we are sorry to report that Backyard Burger in front of WalMart has once again closed its doors, having been open on its second attempt since January 2018.
Columbus councilmen will be in session this evening, where they will hear a progress report from the firm “The Retail Coach” (TRC) on their efforts to recruit new businesses to the city (in Leigh Mall, in particular). The city contracted out to the firm on a temporary basis a year ago to take over the role previously performed by the Golden Triangle LINK.
“The first phase of any retail recruitment project that we do is to come in and analyze the market and pull some figures,” Caroline Hearnsberger of TRC said.
The firm is also looking to fill spaces previously (or currently) occupied by nationwide chains: “Even as late as Friday evening, I was on the phone with a retailer that is, and remains, very interested in the Office Depot space,” she said. “There is so much interest in that space, and in the Kmart and JCPenney spaces as well.”
“I know it’s frustrating when you hear about businesses closing but … I think this is an exciting time for retail in Columbus,” she went on to say. “
Columbus COO David Armstrong commented: “We’re looking forward to hearing from (Hearnsberger) at the meeting,” he said. “We have high hopes that the work (The Retail Coach) is doing will have a significant impact.”
GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of Progress/The Dispatch
Developer Saunders Ramsey is bringing a touch of the good ol’ days to Starkville with Creole, Acadian, and French Colonial houses in the new Adelaide subdivision. The houses are designed to encourage folks to sit on the generous front porches – perhaps with a glass of iced tea or a Mint Julep in hand – and wile away the hot summer hours chatting with their neighbors: “It’s where new meets the old,” Ramsey said. “We are going way back to before conventional subdivisions. We’re using the ability to influence behavior through design.”
Meanwhile, in Columbus, Guy Mackey has renovated two existing apartment complexes (College Manor on College St and Park Manor in Lee Park), giving them new life: “Nothing had been done to them in 30 or 40 years,” he said. “We didn’t anticipate going to the extent that we did, but it made sense to focus on getting it done right. And that’s a great thing for the community.”
It just really dated back to the 70s,” Mackey said. “We gave it a nice facelift though.”
Developer Scott Berry is moving forward on his project to turn the old abandoned Lee school building into loft apartments, though he is keeping some of the school’s old touches, such as an intercom in one corner, the original school doors, and rows of lockers that were once used by students of all stripes: “If you’re familiar with the school, once you get into the old apartments, there’s no doubt you’ll know where you are,” Berry said.
GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of Progress/The Commercial Dispatch
Developer Mark Castleberry has had a twenty-year history as one of the GTR’s most prolific developers, and who’s vision and ambition have made a huge impact in the Golden Triangle. He moved to West Point from Long Beach, California in 199, and he completed his first project in 1998 – The Tower Center in West Point. Since then, he has spent that time well, bringing eighteen projects to life (so far!), including hotels, restaurants, and many other venues, such as The Mill at MSU in Starkville and the hotels-and-more section of 18th Avenue in Columbus.
Castleberry remains humble about his works, seeing them as simply something that could help improve the area: “People think I’m some kind of financial genius, but I’m alarmingly ignorant about those things,” he said. “More than anything, [The Mill] was a gut feeling. I saw it and said, ‘Now, there’s an very interesting project. I don’t know what it is yet, but yeah, we can do it.’ It wasn’t a lot more sophisticated than that.”
He also makes it a point to stat apprised of how the areas he does work in are perceived, how his projects may have changed those perceptions: “We have over $100 million invested in the Golden Triangle, so I wouldn’t be very smart if I didn’t want to be knowledgeable about its health,” he said. “I don’t see that as a negative. I’m proud of the work the CVB has done in portraying Columbus in a positive light. Being on the CRA board, meant I couldn’t participate directly in any of the development, but I’m proud of the CRA’s role in getting the Lee High property back on the tax rolls.”
Over 100 homes with major damage or destroyed- in our little city. Can’t forget them.
I got invited to be a small part of a big project that was announced yesterday. The Community Based Recovery Committee will be working to coordinate the long-term rebuilding of Columbus after the tornado and recent flooding.
As the weeks pass, the committee’s job is to keep the community informed on the progress, and to make sure the victims of both disasters aren’t forgotten.
I’m honored to be invited, and I was very impressed that there were no political-type appointees or other opportunists in the room. Nice to see