Category Archives: Columbus

New Phase of Lowndes County Horse Park Has Begun

New Phase of Lowndes County Horse Park Has Begun

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders

“I got to thinking about how children in high school don’t enter these anymore, which is why we’re building (the park),” Lowndes County BOS President Harry Sanders recently remarked.  “Maybe we can get kids interested again in things we used to do when we were kids.”

He was speaking of the Lowndes County Horse Park which is situated on a 22-acre site west of Columbus, just off of Hwy 82 on Tom Rose Road. Sanders hopes it will become the perfect venue in Lowndes County to hold horse shows, livestock shows, county fairs, and other outdoor and agricultural activities. The site currently Lowndes County Extension Service office on 485 Tom Rose Road. Extension Agent Reid Nevins said the location has helped the department grow significantly within the past year:  “(The building) has been a godsend,” Nevins said. “Since we moved in during April of last year, we have had over 5,000 people walk through those doors. … That’s not phone calls, that’s coming in the door and interacting and asking questions and participating.”

The next phase is the horse park — a planned 45,000 square-foot open-air arena, which is projected to be completed in 2019.  Construction is set to begin before October of this year.

At least at the beginning, “[this] will mainly be used for rodeo show horses … the EMCC rodeo team doesn’t have a place to host rodeos,” said Sanders. “They’ve agreed to host their rodeos at our arena. That’s going to draw in a lot of tourist dollars. … It’s going to get used.”

“The sky’s the limit, let’s just put it that way,” Nevins said.

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MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann speaks to Rotary Club members at the Starkville Country Club Monday – Photo by Luisa Porter, Dispatch Staff

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann spoke to the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, emphasizing the importance of education in order to help further improve the state’s future workforce. He noted that this need not always mean a four-year college degree, and that proper training via career tech centers can be just as valuable for students who are willing to undertake whatever training suits them:”Taking that silo, where we have a university, junior college, a high school, all of that needs to be towards one goal and that one goal would be to have an educated workforce,” he said. “And about 60-70 percent of that educated workforce will not have a college degree. That’s critical — I want you to have that college degree if that’s what you want to do. If you want to work with your hands and be a plumber, you can come to Jackson in the winter and make a million dollars.”

Hosemann said that it is vital to expose students to as many different career path options as early as is practical in their education, to get youths interested in learning about career paths that suit their own interests and talents. He also noted that, while our Unemployment level is low at the moment, that number only includes adults who are actively looking for work, and have been doing so only up to a certain amount of time: “The most significant number that we have in Mississippi is not what our percentage unemployment is,” he said. “It is workforce participation. We are at 55 percent between 18 and 64 (years old). That number is one of the lowest in the country. . .If there were 65 percent working, we could build bridges everywhere,” he went on to say. “We could have schools everywhere. We’d have plenty of money to go around. We’d have another 100,000 or 200,000 people working in Mississippi.”

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Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

 

 

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of WTVA

The GTR LINK recently announced Steel Dynamics’ plans to invest $200 million into its flat roll steel plant here in Columbus. They anticipate that the expansion will add as many as 45 jobs to the plant over the next three years as the changes are phased in.

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Ryan’s Buffet Shutters its Doors

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ryan’s closed earlier this month, and the property is for sale for $900,000. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Another of Columbus’ eateries has shut its doors. Ryan’s Buffet on Hwy 45 recently closed down, leaving a note on the door to inform visitors. While the future of the establishment has been up in the air for some time now, it’s official: Escondido, California’s Realty Income Corp. is under contract to purchase the property.

Royce Hudspeth, the listing agent for the property, said, “We never stopped marketing the property . . . We have received two letters of intent from prospective buyers and are currently negotiating with one of those buyers. We will see if a deal can be done.”

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CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin (courtesy photo)

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority is banking on tax incentives and the reputation of the development group (Military Lee, L.L.C.) to ensure that the plans for the pending sale of Lee Middle School property come to fruition as promised. “You’d be a fool to buy all that land, and not do anything with it,” said Jeff Turnage, attorney for both the city and CRA

CRA announced Saturday that Military Lee had agreed to purchase the former Lee Middle School Property — approx. 15 acres — for $450,000. The Columbus Municipal School District owns the property, and its board of trustees must first approve a $1 sale of the property to CRA before the authority can execute the sale to the developer.

“I know they’re very serious,” Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. “They do have a history of a development in Jackson that turned out real well.”

Military Lee, which did not yet have a formal name at at that time, threw their hat into the ring with plans to turn the site into a mixed-use development of residential and commercial entities, while preserving as much of the original structures as possible.

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New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Breaux Bridge, a new restaurant named after the crawfish capital of the world, will be opening soon in Columbus in the old Chili’s location on Highway 45. Photo by: Mary Pollitz/Dispatch Staff

NeonFROG marketing agent Karen Stanley has announced that the owners of Breaux Bridge – a new restaurant that has taken over the old Chili’s location on Hwy 45 – is slated to open for business by late Summer. The venue is named after the Louisiana town dubbed “The Crawfish Capital of the World” by the Louisiana Legislature in 1959. The menu will be a fusion of Cajun and Asian cuisine, including dishes such as gumbo, po’boys, crawfish fried rice, and much, much more.

The interior of the building is ready to roll, so they’re finishing up the final details. The outside signage just went up on Tuesday. “We’ve worked with local artists and artists down in the New Orleans area,” Stanley said. “There are a lot of bright colors. It has very much an eclectic, Cajun feel. . .”The inside is fully set. It’s just getting the fine details together. . .When we open the doors, we want to have everything as perfect as possible.”

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New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

COLUMBUS — Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Trump Administration recently announced that its 25% tariffs on steel – which had exempted the EU, Canada, and Mexico – will now be imposed unilaterally, triggering Mexico to retaliate in kind. Some are concerned that this could be bad news for Golden Triangle businesses, such as Steel Dynamics.

Mark Millet, CEO of SDI

During a January 2018 conference call, SDI President and CEO Mark Millett pointed out the Columbus flat-roll steel plant’s stellar role in boosting the company’s profits to record highs: “We, I think, shipped about 220,000 tons of automotive (steel) from Columbus just last year, which is a massive increase,” Millett told investors. “And we’re on platforms to increase that to about 400,000 tons over the next 18 months …We continue to gain market share, especially at the Columbus flat roll division with our focus on automotive direct sales. We also benefit there from a cost effective access into Mexico.”

Much of the local plant’s steel is exported to Mexican auto manufacturing plants. They imported roughly 3.7 metric tons of flat roll steel, according to the International Trade Assn.; this number made up about 2/3 of Mexico’s total steel imports that year.

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Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Jason and Kelsey Bigelow are among a small, but  growing number of Orthodox Christians in the area who have long been seeking a permanent place of worship, rather than driving as far as Tupelo irregularly in order to have access to the services they want. They recently found that their numbers had grown large enough to found a local mission, and that a former Christian Science worship center was available for purchase – so they and their congregation did so. They now meet at the church on 4th Avenue North, which they have been extensively renovating. They are considered a Mission for now, as they are still working on the funding required to maintain a full-time priest, rather than having one come in once every 3-4 weeks, and having congregants preach in the meantime. They intend to begin holding formal worship services in July; they expect to begin with about thirty congregants.

“It’s a small world of Orthodox Christians in Mississippi,” said Columbus physician William Rosenblatt who bought the building along with Jason earlier this month. “Everyone kind of knows everyone. (When we) moved here, we knew … the Bigelows were in town. (We) put our heads together and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to do something. We can’t keep driving an hour and 45 minutes to church every Sunday.’ They had been looking at area buildings, just kind of thinking into the future, and we found this one, started getting the ball rolling.”

William Rosenblatt of Columbus does yard work outside the new Orthodox Church on Fourth Avenue North – credit – Isabelle Altman.jpg

“The first time you walk into an Orthodox Church that’s all set up, not like this,” Kelsey said, gesturing to the construction around her, “(but) with the candles and iconography and the singing, it’s overwhelming. If you have studied art and history, even if you don’t know anything about the Orthodox Church firsthand when you come in, you instantly see the beauty of the worship.”

“The building is sort of in the classic church configuration, a Latin cross plan,” Jason said. “So that’s what we would have built if we had built this from scratch.”

“Most people aren’t as fortunate,” Rosenblatt said. “They’re in a store front for a long time or something much less formal.”

“When you drive your kids an hour every other Sunday to go to church, and you can’t stay late for coffee hour because you’ve got to get back and do stuff or you can’t be there on Wednesday night and you can’t fully raise them in the church — to have a church that I can walk to is absolutely a miracle to me,” she said.  “It’s like having your grandma next door,” she added. “That’s the only thing I can liken it to. It’s like having your community, the things that matter to you (and are) close to you, within reach.”

“Everybody’s welcome,” Jason said. “It’s not just Orthodox — which we think there’s other area Orthodox. But this church is for everybody. … Everybody’s welcome that wants to learn about Jesus.”

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USA Today Honors Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Columbus Visitors’ Bureau

Please join with all of us at GFB to congratulate everyone who gives their all to make our town a better place!

PRESS RELEASE

Columbus, MS has been voted No. 6 in the Best Small Town Cultural Scene category of USA TODAY’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest!

“Visit Columbus is honored to win a coveted spot on this list, and is grateful for the many voters who helped our city win this distinguished award” said Nancy Carpenter, CEO of Visit Columbus.

Columbus, MS has been voted No. 6 in the Best Small Town Cultural Scene category of USA TODAY’s latest 10Best Readers'…

Posted by Visit Columbus on Friday, May 18, 2018

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First Steps Toward Sandfield Re-Development Taken

First Steps Toward Sandfield Re-Development Taken

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Local developer Jabari Edwards, a Sandfield native, recently had the opportunity to take a good, hard look at his old stomping grounds. What he saw motivated him to do something about the urban blight and other issues that had brought the area to its current state. Thus, he decided to do something about it; “…I just thought to myself, ‘This isn’t the Sandfield I grew up in,'” Edwards said.

Jabari Edwards (photo courtesy of The Dispatch)

He is working with the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State to come up with a comprehensive plan for redeveloping Sandfield, from 15th Street North to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. “We’re taking a holistic approach looking at overall well-being,” Edwards said. “What does it do for crime in the area, for kids going to school and for our employment base? … For me, this is a labor of love because this is my community,” he added. “No matter where I go, Sandfield will always be a part of me.”

A first, tangible step has already been taken – a former housing development on the corner of Martin Luther King and College Street was destroyed in a controlled burn session by the local Fire Department in a training exercise. This makes it just one of fifteen or so such controlled burns conducted in the last twelve months. Conducting these training exercises has the added benefit of helping the local FD to maintain its certifications, a notable contributor towards lowering home insurance rates.

After the dust settled, groundbreaking work was immediately begun on a dozen single-family homes that will be sold for prices ranging from about $100,000~120,000 each. This pricing structure, which will include both rent-to-own and traditional home sales, will also allow homebuyers (especially first-timers) to qualify for financial aid via Mississippi Home Corps, HUD, and other agencies. The hope is that the homes will all be ready within the next nine to twelve months, and will be simply the first step toward improving the area for residents old and new.

“We’re all trying to beautify the community and draw people here,” Fire Chief Martin Andrews said. “If we can do it legally and the right way, we try to help with new developments because they add value to the community and we need the training opportunities. So it’s a win-win.”

“These [blighted] properties were an eyesore in a main thoroughfare of the community,” Mayor Robert Smith commented. “… Everybody needs a nice place to live, and quality of life is important regardless of income. These will be nice homes that will enhance the neighborhood, and they should also reduce crime because when you remove blight, you remove a lot of the places where your criminals hang out. …We would hope whoever buys these homes (once they are completed in Sandfield) will take pride in their home and their neighborhood.”

Please click here for the full article.

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