Category Archives: Recreation

Lee High Remembered

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Students and instructors alike have fond memories of their time at Lee High in Columbus. The site is currently undergoing renovations in order to turn it into a combination mall/apartment complex with 23 residential units available.

Lee alumna Jessica Howard Stephens visits the old Lee building
with former Lee High School principal J.V. Carr — Dispatch file photo

“I remember so clearly sitting in the halls and drawing [the rows of lockers].” Lee alumna Carol Littlejohn, class of 1968, said. “We learned how to draw them so the lines made it look like they were getting smaller.”

“We’re hoping to be complete by Sept. 1,” Developer Scott Berry, class of 1971, said. “We want to start leasing then, and I’m really hoping for it. I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

First built in 1953, the school was in operation until 2011, when the school district opened Columbus Middle School on the other side of town. Berry bought the property in 2018 and got to work on the renovations right away.

In the mall section, Berry’s plans include a 200-seat restaurant and a 1000-seat auditorium. The main twenty former classrooms are being converted into 1BR/1BA and 2BR/2BA apartments, both meant for long-term rentals. The three remaining spaces, which are larger, are being set up as short-term rentals, aimed primarily at complimenting the event space.

“If people are coming in for a weekend wedding, say, and they want to have the rehearsal and the wedding, we want them to say, ‘oh, can we have those apartments too?'” Berry said. “They’re designed to be complimentary.”

Berry says that he wanted to maintain as much of the original school structure as possible, so that tenants would always remember where the building came from. He has made sure to preserve much of the old building, including many lockers and classroom doors.

“Who knows,” Littlejohn added. “Maybe they’ll even want to learn the history of Lee High.”

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Lemonade Day is Coming!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

– all photos are Courtesy photos unless specified otherwise –

June 1st, 2019 will be Lemonade Day! It’s an opportunity for kids to learn the basics of running a business, marketing, and (hopefully) turning a profit. An offshoot of the national LD program, it began last year in Starkville, and its success – over 150 kids up to 6th-grade level took part, setting up 64 lemonade stands throughout the city – has led to expanding the local program to both Columbus and West Point.

The Golden Triangle program leader is Jeffrey Rupp, director of outreach for Mississippi State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. He’s hoping that the number of participants this year will double or more.

ld2018 – Kadie Eldridge, left, and Abigail McTaggart pour lemonade at their ‘Lemony Spickets’ stand on the Mississippi State University campus in this 2018 Dispatch file photo

Participants can now sign up online; they will receive a free workbook, which gives them the basics on starting a business, marketing it, and how to handle finances at a basic level they can understand. It also encourages kids to donate some of the profits to local charities in order to help others, which many did. The kids can also receive advice & feedback from local business owners. Last year, Cadence bank even offered $40 micro-loans to the budding entrepreneurs; Rupp said all of these micro-loans were paid back 100%. They will be doing so again this year.

Main Street Columbus Director Barbara Bigelow said: “I thought it was just so cool,” she said. “… I love the program. The whole premise beside it is to teach young people how to set up a business and follow through.” She is currently looking into obtaining booth spots downtown for the event, and she has reached out to local schools in order to solicit interest from students.

“All you have to do is go buy lemonade,” Rupp said. “So it’s really easy for the public to get involved.” – And THAT’S Good for Business!

To learn more about Lemonade Day or to sign up and volunteer, go to lemonadeday.org/golden-triangle.

Click here for the FaceBook page for the event.

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One Door Closes, but Many More Open – For Business!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

COLUMBUS

Former employees Debbie Putt and Janis Kertsetter are now the new owners of The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. The shop had been closed briefly after the prior owner, Marca Glenn, retired.

“We hated to see another store close in Columbus,” Putt said. “We just felt like jumping in and doing it. Everything comes full circle.”

Putt went on to say that the shop will be the same as always, though they are open to carrying new and interesting items for their clientele to buy; also, they have retained the crew that worked under Ms. Glenn. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, next to CJ’s in Columbus, has announced that they are closing their doors after being in business for six years.

STARKVILLE

Construction work has officially begun at Grand Junction condos, 509 University Drive. They are hoping to open Phase I for new homeowners in late August of this year. Tabor Development’s VP of development, Kay Regimbal, says that about one third of the condos have already been purchased.

The units vary in size from 1~3 bedrooms & 750~1,500 square feet, and in price from about $200,000 to $445,000.

MSU’s Colvard Student Union had a couple of changes quite recently:

State Fountain Bakery, which is now across the union, has penlty of goodies on offer just in time for Valentine’s Day. Mediterranean restaurant Olilo is now open in the student union.

Popular downtown yoga studio Firefly on S Lafayette St has shut its doors, and appears to be on the market.

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Regional Business After Hours for Jan 17, 2019

If you are a member of any of the area Chambers, Partnerships, etc…or if you just want to meet some good people and mingle, swing by for Business After Hours at the GTR Airport tonight!

Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce
Golden Triangle Development LINK
Greater Starkville Development Partnership

West Point Main Street

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Waverly Mansion to Enter a New Era

WEST POINT, MS — Courtesy of the Waverly Plantation Mansion

The historical antebellum Plantation & Mansion near West Point has a couple of new owners, who are ready to work hard on continuing the restoration of the property to bring its appearance back to that of its glory days. Built in the 1840s by Georgia Colonel George Hampton Young and completed in 1852, it features a unique design, a gas-fired chandelier, industrial buildings, a swimming pool, and more! The Robert Snow family purchased the property in 1952, and have been steadily working on restoring it ever since. The Stephensons will now continue with that legacy.

Tours will be available when the renovation permits, and will be announced at a later date.

Charlie and Dana Stephenson at the Waverly mansion (courtesy photo)

A message from Waverly’s new owners Charlie and Dana Stephenson: “Dana & I are thrilled & honored that the Snow family has entrusted us with Waverley. We have a plan to get her back into top shape & she will remain open except for periods of time when renovation work will not allow. We’re thrilled that Jimmy will continue to guide tours & share his expertise & knowledge with our guests. We plan to launch a web site soon that will house historical information & keep everyone up to day on the progress. The future is bright for Waverley!”

A message from Waverly’s new owners Charlie and Dana Stephenson: “Dana & I are thrilled & honored that the Snow family…

Posted by Southern Civil Warscapes: The Civil War In The South on Saturday, December 22, 2018
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Starkville Named Among Top College Towns Nationwide

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Personal finance website Wallet Hub recently released its rankings of the best college towns in the country. Starkville came in at 25th in the overall rankings, and 9th among small cities (population under 125,000). Over 400 US cities were taken into consideration.

“We have a good relationship with the students and the university and I think this reflects that,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “We want [students] to feel like they’re at home when they’re here with us and I think that’s part of what we seem to be achieving and this validates that.”

“We want those students to want to come here and we want more to come here,” Spruill went on to say. “That’s part of what makes us grow and be better and be smarter. And that increase in youth and vitality gives that well-rounded sense of who you are. It makes you dynamic; it makes you progressive.”

“The community and the university have to work together to make a place where these students want to be,” Spruill concluded. “And obviously when they’re done with college we’d like them to stay here so that’s all a part of that. If we can make them feel like this is home, we staunch some of that brain drain that we keep hearing about. because we want them to stay with us. We want them to continue to be a part of the community.”

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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.

Please click here for the full article.

 

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