Court frees plans for Starkville’s new city facilities

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Mayor Parker Wiseman says he’s looking forward to a new attractive City Hall for his hometown.
Wiseman and other city officials were making plans Tuesday for a ground-breaking on a local dream that’s 12 years in the making.
“It’s just an extraordinary day for the city,” Wiseman said after news that the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit challenging how the city will pay for the infrastructure improvements.
The $8 million project – new municipal building and renovations to the current city hall – will be funded with an aldermen-approved lease-purchase plan.
Resident William McGovern challenged the process, but the Supreme Court decision ended that dispute.
“We have lived here in Starkville since 2001, and this has been on the agenda all 12 years,” posted Priscilla Barber King on Facebook. “So thankfully we will finally have a facility here of which we can all be proud.”
For decades, the Oktibbeha County seat’s main city facility has been housed in a remodeled Quonset-hut style structure downtown. It’s been widely criticized as unattractive and outmoded.
The city plans to tear down the old electric department and West Brothers Construction to build a new city hall downtown in about 18 months to two years. Work then will begin on a second phase renovating the existing city hall into a new police department and court complex.
“When we’re through, people will be able to look down Main Street and see a building with a civic presence,” Wiseman said about the changes.
Voters three times narrowly rejected bond issues for the project but last year, aldermen reached the deal for West Brothers to build the facility and lease it back to the city.
After those bond issues failed, Wiseman said it was obvious the city had to do something different that didn’t involve a tax increase.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com