Category Archives: Recreation

Terry Brown Ampitheater Looking Good, Could be Ready to Rock Within Two Years

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

The Columbus-Lowndes CVB Tourism Partners recently gave a preview of the (still under construction) Terry Brown Ampitheater to a number of its members. Pjase I of the construction was completed in 2007, but Phase II is still pending funding to the tune of $2.5 million needed to complete the project. It is hoped that it will be ready to rock by early to mid 2020.

 

City engineer Kevin Stafford provides details of the plans for the Terry Brown Amphitheater during a tour of the facility Tuesday morning. City officials hope the venue will be ready to for its first event in spring 2020 as they await $2.5 million in funding needed to complete the project. Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff

The venue is planned to have a seating capacity of roughly 3,500 including seating for 1,800 on a grassy area, according to city engineer Kevin  Stafford: 1,100 hard-back seats plus a table-and-chairs area for VIP use and an open area nearest the stage that can be altered as needed for any given show.

Rep. Jeff Smith, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said that they hope to receive enough state bond money to complete the project in the upcoming year, but it’s uncertain whether enough will be incoming to meet the $2.5 million goal. Mayor Robert Smith suggested that a 2% county-wide restaurant tax could provide $2 million annually for tourism and economic development. Per an existing resolution, $400 thousand of that could be used each year for parks and recreation.

As part of the joint resolution between the county and the city that will be used to craft the legislation, $400,000 annually would be provided to the city for parks and recreation: “We are going to be talking to our local legislative delegation about both the bond money and the 2-percent money,” Smith said. “We know there is going to be some bond money to help complete (the amphitheater). We don’t know if we’ll get the $2.5 million we need, but if not, the plan is to use some of the 2-percent money, which would be more than enough to complete the project.”

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Lowndes County Sportsplex Greenlit by BOS

LOWNDES – Courtesy of the Dispatch

A major quality of life improvement has now jumped one of its most important hurdles.

Lowndes County is executing a purchase of 89 acres of property west of Columbus it hopes to convert to a regional sports complex. The purchase price of $840,000 is $50,000 less than the land’s appraised value.

The Lowndes County supervisors voted to purchase an 89-acre parcel of land in the western section of the county to build a sports complex; the vote was unanimous, following a clearance authorization from the FAA in order to make sure that the new construction will not interfere with an existing nearby FAA facility. A buffer zone will need to be established at one end of the property, leaving 69 acres usable by the County.

“That’s more than enough land for what we want to do,” Board president Harry Sanders said, “so I think we can go forward with this.” While some discussion asked about simply not purchasing the “buffer zone” part of the property, it was soon explained that it was all a package deal, and that leaving that part out would actually cause the price to go up from the agreed-upon $840 thousand price tag. The cost will be paid out over eight years, with no interest charged, and reflects a discount of $50 thousand below the assessed value of the property.

District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham commended that “As far as that part of the property, there still may be something we could use it for that the FAA would approve, maybe a walking path.” He went on to speculate that “The system out there is going to be obsolete one of these days and that part of the property will be usable. . . Let’s go ahead as we planned.”

The board agreed, voting to make its first $100,000 payment on Nov. 15 of this year.

In other board business, supervisors dealt with the question of how to fill the county prosecutor position that will become open in January. Current office-holder Allison Kizer will leave that position after being sworn in as county judge, for which she is running unopposed next month.

“It could be that for some of us, whether or not the person wants to run again is OK, and for others it might not be,” District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks said. “I think we should just let that play out and see how the votes go. There’s no need to do anything else.”

Supervisors set the deadline to apply for the county prosecutor position for Dec. 3.

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Wedding and Catering Venue to Open in The Depot Early Next Year

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Matt and Kelly Pittman, with their daughter, Harper, go over plans for renovations at The Depot with Realtor Royce Hudspeth and contractor Gene Reid on Tuesday – Photo credit – Slim Smith, Dispatch Staff

Kelly and Matt Pittman will be opening a new events & catering venue which will be named after its historical location: “The Depot.” The business, to be located at the corner of Main and 13th St South, is planned to open in early 2019: “The name fits it really well and that’s what Columbus has been calling it,” Kelly Pittman said. “We just thought it was a good fit.”  The Pittmans are experienced wedding caterers and planners, having won couples Choice Awards (from Wedding Wire) for the past four years in a row.

“We love the town of Columbus,” Kelly added. “It is beautiful. When we drove down Main Street with the shops and buildings, we were just in awe.”

“[I and building owner Guynup have] got a reason for everyone to be excited,” Realtor Royce Hudspeth said. “Columbus needs to be excited about this. They do a first class job. For a young couple, it’s just amazing the practices (they’ve) built up, and (Kelly is) bringing that to the Golden Triangle.”

Pittman plans to have up to ten employees to help run the venue. It will have two large rooms, a reception and ceremony area, and a bridal room. A kitchen will also be built between those two rooms. The space will be available for rental for a wide variety of events.

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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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Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville will be taking part in its first annual Lemonade Day – an extension of National Lemonade Day – in conjunction with a bunch of young entrepreneurs and Cadence Bank. The purpose of the vent is to help parents and their enterprising children learn more about running a business – both the good (profits) and the not so good (dealing with loans and permits). Signup is at 9AM sharp at the Glo office at 419 419 East Lampkin Street in Starkville.

Cadence Bank will be offering small loans to the participants to help them get started, and the organizers are set up to accept a hundred or so applicants: “Loosely, we’re thinking it will be for ages K-7th grade, but we’re not going to limit that if an older kid wants to participate,” said Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach for the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. “This is fun.” MSU and seventeen businesses have agreed to let the nascent shopkeepers set up on their sites.

Registrants will also receive a backpack with an entrepreneur workbook and access to an online interactive program that teaches them the lessons that Lemonade Day was designed to impart.

To learn more or to register for Lemonade Day Starkville, visit: https://lemonadeday.org/starkville

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Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville aldermen recently approved a contract with Dalhoff Thomas, a Memphis architecture firm. They are to be awarded $61,000  for a master plan of a proposed athletic complex at Cornerstone Park off Highway 25. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker reports that this will become integrated with the master plan the city already has for its overall parks system. “This is for design purposes to get you to a master plan level,” he said. It is to be a basic, non-final plan/proposal for a possible athletic facility at Cornerstone Park, allowing the city to move ahead on getting the actual project in motion, pending approval.

Walker continued, “This is going to be the plan for us to decide how we want to do it, what we want to do and from that standpoint, there would be a separate contract that would go to construction documents to actually get the project built.” It will likely include things such as a projected square footage, drainage and other infrastructure requirements, et al.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill (courtesy photo)

Mayor Lynn Spruill said that the city might be eligible to receive roughly 114 acres in Cornerstone Park from the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority. “That gives us a whole lot of options we can use because we keep McKee, we keep the Sportsplex, and we have a real serious competitive opportunity we can use here,” she said. She also pointed out that success in this venture would eliminate the need to acquire similar land nearer the existing facilities: “Unless Cornerstone has … a huge wetland issue for mitigation, then the amount of acreage we were looking at (near the Sportsplex) was half of what we’d get at Cornerstone,” she said.

“We want to do high-end ball fields,” Spruill went on to say. “We want to be as competitive or more competitive than anyone out there. We want to do amenities to go with it — maybe a splash pad or a batting area. A jogging track — it’s very easy to put something around a facility to allow other facilities.”

Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller commented: “When the Outlaw Center at the Sportsplex fills up or there’s an event going on, I’d like to make sure that our youth or whoever it might have the opportunity to play basketball in other parts of the city as well and have good, nice facilities just like everywhere else in the city.”

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Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

CALEDONIA – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Amanda Boltwood (courtesy photo)

Caledonia has joined the Golden Triangle’s habit of hosting Farmer’s Markets this time of year, and they have been met with rapid success. Their first outing (on May 4) featured eight vendors of all kinds, and this number promptly doubled for the second one. Market on Main in downtown Caledonia is open on designated Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The idea originated with Amanda Boltwood, who also chairs the annual fall Caledonia Days festival. “I just really love being involved in the town,” Boltwood said. “I thought this would be a great way to get everyone out on Main Street and bring the community together for the summer.”

Alderwoman Tammy McCool remarked, “It invites people into our town; they’ll visit our restaurants and our businesses here. It’s just another way to showcase Caledonia.”

Vendor Callie Shelnut remarked, “I was just amazed, for such a small town, the number of people who came out — but then, this town pulls together so well.”

Market on Main dates in downtown Caledonia are Fridays June 1 and 22, and July 13 and 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If interest warrants, more dates may be added in August.

For more information, interested vendors may contact Boltwood at 662-251-2875 or visit facebook.com/marketonmaincaledonia. There is no fee to participate.

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Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Starkville’s Midtown is a mixed-use development that will feature Orangetheory Fitness, 66 apartments and other businesses to be announced at a later date. (courtesy photo)

Strange Brew Coffeehouse owner Katelyn Reed recently announced the nascent opening of their second Starkville location; their intent is to open before September 1st. Their existing store, which has a drive-thru, is “busting at the seams,” Reed said. “So we are really excited to have some more space, and to now be walking distance from campus.” The new location will be in the Midtown development on University Drive, and is meant to be be “more of a ‘come sit a while’ feel,” Reed went on to say. Both locations will share the exiting menu, as well as new products that will soon be on offer.

A second Instagram and Twitter account was made for the Midtown location, and it can be found at @SBCoho for more updates

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Weekend Sports Tournaments Expected to Draw Large Crowds

Weekend Soccer & Tennis Tourneys Expected to Draw Large Crowds

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter reports that “Every hotel room is sold out in Columbus,” in anticipation of this weekend’s soccer and tennis tournaments. Over five thousand vistitors are expected to come to town for the soccer tourney alone. The Admiral Cup Soccer Tournament will begin Saturday at 8 AM, and will continue throughout the weekend on fields at Columbus High School, Joe Cook Elementary and the Lowndes County Soccer Complex.

Greg Lewis, CRA Director

“Any time that we can bring that many people into our city that have to spend the night, stay in our hotels, they have to purchase our food, they have to buy our gas, that’s a tremendous plus for the city of Columbus,” said Greg Lewis, director of the Columbus Recreation Authority. “And that’s really one of the reasons that we bid on the tournament, to make sure that we get people to come into our town.”

About 450 players are expected for the weekend’s Mississippi Over 65 USTA League Championship tennis tournament at the Magnolia Tennis Club; anywhere from another 1~2,000 visitors are expected to come in tow or just to watch.

Both of these events are packing GTR hotels to their limits, and this also means more business at gas stations, grocery stores, local restaurants, and more! And THAT’S Good for Business!

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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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