Category Archives: Golden Triangle

To Buffet or Not To Buffet

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

While the Ryan’s Buffet building went up for sale a week ago,  their Director of Marketing, Mike Griffith, has announced the restaurant will be able to remain in operation until a final sale is made; it will be up to the buyer to decide whether or not to keep it open beyond that point. “It is not a certainty that the restaurant will close, as we are currently in negotiations with the landlord for a new lease agreement,” Griffith said. “A final decision to close the restaurant cannot be made until those negotiations are exhausted.”

Buyers have reportedly expressed interest in the site, and the current lease lasts until the end of June; Griffith denied a report claiming that the restaurant’s employees had been notified of the restaurant’s closure.

 

The landowner is currently asking approximately $900,000 for the site.

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Starkville to Get New Public Housing and Commercial Space

Starkville to Get New Public Housing and Commercial Space

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Local attorney Johnny Moore recently spoke with Starkville aldermen on behalf of Tuscalloosa developer Christopher Dobbs at their board meeting. They discussed potential plans to move public housing development Pecan Acres to a new location, freeing up the original site on Highway 12 for commercial development.  The Starkville Housing Authority and HUD are also involved with the possible project.

Attorney Johnny Moore speaks to aldermen during Tuesday’s board meeting – Credit: Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

While the exact location of the new Pecan Acres site has yet to be determined, it will still be within Ward 7, and current residents will have first choice of housing units to move into at the new location. The new site will be 100% ready before requiring anyone from the old one to decide whether to move there or go elsewhere: “The way this is going to take place, the units will be built, and then they will move into the new units,” Moore said. “Nobody’s going to be displaced for any period of time.”

The aldermen seemed receptive to the idea, according to reports. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver said that “This is a once-in-a-lifetime (opportunity). . . So if Volunteer Starkville wants to get involved or anyone wants to help, there’s tons of outreach programs out there that could help.”

“We’re going to take the Pecan Acres property and put about $150 million in infrastructure improvements in it,” Moore said. “It’s going to increase the funds that our schools will receive by about half a million dollars a year. We’re going to receive sales tax. We’re going to receive property tax. We’re going to get people who are living in public housing that’s over 70 years old in new housing.”

The aldermen also discussed potential interest in a planned EMS district, and the matter will be open to input from EMS service providers at their May 1st meeting. The idea is that it should be possible, within the defined district, to house both fire trucks and Fire Dept. ambulances at the same stations, improving response times and allowing easier access to OCH Regional Medical Center.

The fact that ambulance services are generally run at a loss, and must therefore be subsidized, was brought up as part of the discussion; it will be discussed further at their next meeting, along with ideas for potential outside firms that can assist with implementation.

Please click here for the full article.

 

 

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Starkville to Get a Brand-New Dedicated Comic Shop

Starkville to Get a Brand-New Dedicated Comic Shop

A new bookstore specializing in comic books, The Last Page, will open its doors in downtown Starkville at the end of April. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)

 

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

A new dedicated book & comic shop, The Last Page, plans to open its doors in Starkville in the next couple of weeks. It will be located at 101 South Washington Street in downtown Starkville.

Owner Sky Thompson stated that “The main focus will be comic books. . . Starkville hasn’t had a comic book store in 10 or 15 years.” They also plan to offer buying and selling of used books, as well as a trading setup. They also plan to hold community events such as card nights weekly book club meetings:”We have plenty of space and there will be a lot of chairs and tables for people to come hang out,” she said.

Please click here for the full article.

 

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Graham Roofing Gets New Owner; Books & Boards Closing Its Doors

Graham Roofing Gets New Owner; Books & Boards Closing Its Doors

Golden Triangle – Courtesy of The Dispatch

 

Christee Holbrook – courtesy photo

West Point’s own Graham Roofing has recently seen Christee Holbrook promoted to president and CEO, following her buyout of the company last month.  The business has been serving the needs of locals for fifty years, and one of its founding members has finally retired after all those years. Holbrook originally  joined the company in 1997 as an accountant.

Two others were also chosen as managing partners in order to help run the business: “I chose Christee Holbrook, Suzanne Richardson, and Johnathan Poland to lead Graham Roofing into the future because I knew GRI would have a leadership team with vision, integrity and professionalism,” Hooks said in a company press release. “There was no doubt they would use our company history as their foundation, along with their fresh vision for direction and their faith to take GRI into its next generation of success.”

The primary office will remain at 680 Tibbee Road in West Point, with Tupelo’s location as a satellite branch.

Books & Boards/Three Sisters Pie Company (Photo By Jeremy Hammack)

The people of Columbus are getting ready to say goodby to a much newer shop that has been bringing joy to the community since it first opened fewer than two years ago: Books & Boards, a combination of a small, cozy bookstore and a board gaming cafe. They have shared the space on Main Street with the Three Sisters Pie Company almost since the beginning, and the pie shop will remain open at that location. They will continue to host several of Books and Boards’ most popular events, including poetry open mic nights, bingo nights and trivia nights.

“We are so incredibly proud of the community that Books and Boards has cultivated,” Owner Ashley Gressett said. “I’m sad to see it go, but I’m excited to know that the community we built will still have a place at Three Sisters Pie.” Books and Boards will host a farewell party on April 28. Gressett said the event will be open to the public and include pizza, games and “lots of laughter to go around.”

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Restaurant Tax’s Future Up In Air

Restaurant Tax’s Future Up In Air

Columbus – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Robert Smith and Harry Sanders – Courtesy photo

The fate of the joint Lowndes/Columbus 2% restaurant tax is currently being hotly debated, as it is due to expire at the end of June. It normally brings in about $2 million per year in tax revenue from restaurants that make over $325,000 per year in prepared food and beverage sales. One of the primary issues that caused the tax’s renewal to die in committee a few weeks ago was the debate over whether the $325K floor should be in there at all; without it, all restaurants would be assessed the tax; another is whether the city of Columbus should simply go ahead and assess its own version of the tax, should the State fail to reinstate it sometime soon. The tax revenue goes primarily to fund tourism, parks and economic development.

“My thing is that if our legislators aren’t going to take out the ($325,000) floor, we’d be crazy to send anything down there that says otherwise,” Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said. “Two-million dollars is at stake here. That’s what we have to remember. So if the only way to get this tax back in place is to have the floor, that’s what we would have to do. If that means the county isn’t a part of it, that’s their decision.”

Should the city move forward with its own tax, it may mean changing how the existing Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau’s is funded; the new tax, in this case, would provide said funding in lieu of the old one. Mayor Smith remarked that “[W]ith [CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter’s] contacts and experience, we’d be foolish not to use that. . . We’d have to do something about the board because if it were to be city only, we’d need a board with [only] city people on it. But as far as running tourism, I still think the CVB is the best way to do it.”

The county, in contrast, wants to remove the “floor” on the tax, but keep it the way it was – a joint county/city tax. Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said, “The county has as much interest in tourism as anybody. . . We want to keep it exactly as it is, with the tax in place like it’s always been. … The only difference is taking away the floor because having that floor doesn’t make any sense. That’s been our position all along and I don’t see any reason why it would change.”

As it stands, if the tax is allowed to die later this year, any reinstatements or changes will have to wait until the Legislature reconvenes next January; this would mean losing out on a year or more of tax revenue. While it is theoretically possible to get a short-term, one-year version of the tax added to an upcoming State special session, it seems that it is unlikely that a local tax would be able to get onto the agenda at such a meeting.

Please click here for the full article.

Please click here for a Dispatch editorial on this topic.

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6th Annual Restaurant Week Charities Announced

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Partnership revealed the three charities that will be eligible to win up to $5,000 from Cadence Bank during the sixth annual Restaurant Week later this month.

Jennifer Prather (courtesy photo)

Partnership Director of Tourism Jennifer Prather has announced that The Partnership has selected this year’s charities who will be receiving grants based on patronage during Restaurant Week, later this April: Christian World Missions, the Oktibbeha County Humane Society and the United Way of North Central Mississippi. These were selected from a pool of nominations sent in by the community. During Restaurant Week, patrons at certain restaurants will be given the opportunity to “vote” for one of the three charities; the winning charity will receive $5,000 from Cadence Bank; 2nd Place will receive $1,000; the last will receive $500.

Restaurant week is set for April 22-29. “During that time, we encourage the community and visitors to eat out as many times as they can,” Prather said. “Every time they eat out at a participating restaurant, they can cast their ballot for a participating charity of their choice . . .We encourage everyone to be ready on April 22-29 to eat out as much as they can and help these organizations share the message of the work they’re doing and to get everyone excited about them,” She went on to say.

Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said Restaurant Week stated that both local restaurants and local charities benefit from the arrangement: “I think it’s graduated to the point where people recognize it now and really look forward to not only participating in the nomination process, but also through the thousands of votes we receive from people dining out each year,” he said.

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Neighborhood Popup Soup Kitchen Helps Local Children

Neighborhood Popup Soup Kitchen Helps Local Children

Columbus – Courtesy of The Dispatch

A group of generous locals have recently begun handing out food to those in need at 14th Ave & 20th St, not far from the Boys & Girls’ Club. They set up shop on Monday afternoons at around the time school lets out; they try to have about 50 meals made each week, and it’s all paid for out of their own pockets, plus the occasional donation.

Shannon Scott gives Leon Brewer a sandwich on 14th Avenue Monday afternoon. A different member of the group supplies the food each week.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

“It’s free, baby,” Willie “Sweet” Scott assured a young girl and her two siblings as he and his friend Charles Clemmons saw to it they each had evertything they needed.

“It was set up kind of for the kids, but we don’t turn away (any)body,” Clemmons said. “I wouldn’t want to miss somebody, tell somebody, ‘No you’re too old.’ That may be his only meal. People (are) hungry sometimes coming through the neighborhood.”

The group sets up their stand on Mondays from 3-5 p.m. where they give away whatever they’ve prepared that week.

“I’m just happy to be out here doing what I can and kind of helping,” fellow volunteer Shannon Scott said. “Of course, you run into all sorts of characters. You got your ones who want something for nothing and then you’ve got people who come and you know they really need it. They make it all worth it.”

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La Quinta Planning to Open On Hwy 45 by May

La Quinta Planning to Open On Hwy 45 by May

Columbus, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Construction continues on the La Quinta Inn in Columbus Monday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

The construction of the new La Quinta hotel on the site formerly occupied by the Ramada Inn will soon be completed, with the opening of the hotel quickly to follow.

John Tampa, owner of the La Quinta hotel which is currently under construction at the site of the former Ramada Inn at 1200 Hey 45 N, recently announced, “We’re looking at opening in mid-May . . . Like any projects, there have been some delays, but we’re back on schedule.”

Contractor Larry Holden reports that “The interior units are about 90-percent complete.” He noted that one of the aforementioned inevitable delays was a result of code issues leftover from the prior tenants: “It’s something that happens with older buildings,” he said. “A lot of times you don’t know about them until you get into the demolition. That was what happened here.”

Kenneth Wiegel, the city’s building inspector, stated that “Once they got into demolition, there was an electrical code issue that had to be corrected . . .Then there was some post-tension concrete issues that they had to bring in an expert to deal with. Both of those issues have been addressed.”

The construction is anticipated to be complete by late April, in time for the 105-room facility to open in mid-May.

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MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

From left, Vice President of Real Estate Development at EdR Mark Grambergs, EdR President Tom Trubiana, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, EdR CEO Randy Churchey, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning board member Walter Starr and Executive Vice President and COO of EdR Chris Richards break ground on the new student housing site, College View, Monday. The housing complex and day care is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Work has officially begun at Mississippi State University for a mixed-space residential project that will be the first of its kind in the state. The university held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for the College View project, which is to be located at the location of the old Aiken Village apartments before they were torn down.

MSU President Mark Keenum said College View will have 656 beds, 46,000 square feet for retail and a new 7,000 square-foot day care center; if all goes according to plan, it will be complete by summer of next year.  He stated that the facility will provide much-needed housing for Seniors, as well as a convenient retail space: “This project is a bridge, a connector if you will, from the city onto our campus,” Keenum said. “It’s going to benefit this university, no doubt, but it’s definitely going to benefit Starkville. I always say what’s good for Mississippi State is good for the city, and what’s good for the city is good for Mississippi State.”

EdR CEO Randy Churchey said during Monday’s ceremony that he’s excited for the project, and that future planned expansions should bring the total  total housing capacity to around 1,800 beds: “I can really see this area being the area where alumni come back on game days, (or) come for graduations, and really be a gathering spot for alumni and students and faculty for all those special occasions that happen on college campuses,” Churchey said. “Other institutions are looking at this endeavor with, I hope, envy and jealousy. And they’re probably going to try to copy it one day,” he said. “But you guys were the first to get this accomplished, and we’re going to uphold our end of the bargain and get this building built. It’s going to be fantastic for the students, alumni, the city and the university.”

 

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Monthly Sunday Funday in Starkville to See Improvements Soon

SV ‘parthenon’ building – courtesy photo

A number of changes are incoming regarding Starkville’s “Sunday Funday,” which is a monthly local festival that includes food and art vendors, musicians, and more. The incoming Board of Directors, made up of chair Joe MacGown, co-chair Blair Edwards, Rosa Dalomba, Caleb Hutson and Bonnie Brumley, have stated that they wish to make the Board and the event itself more organized.
Among other things, the location has changed: the Funday will now be held on University Drive next to City Bagel Cafe and the Parthenon-style building, according to MacGown. “We think this is going to be a great area for us,” he said. “They are building the new Midtown Development and we are going to be in that Midtown area. We think it will be a great connection between downtown, MSU, and the Cotton District.”
He went on to state that they are currently looking for sponsorships that will allow the musicians and art vendors to have free sales booths this year; groups selling food will still need to pay a fee. Sunday Funday will begin May 27, and will continue on every fourth Sunday of each month until October, from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.
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