Nov 11

City Hall Renovation

Posted on November 11, 2019 at 12:13 PM by Darren Musselwhite

Revitalization of “Original Southaven” is extremely important for our city.  This is a challenging task for any city as economic demands naturally change as cities age.  We’ve had some gradual success with this during the last few years, but we must continue to do everything we can to make our original business district attractive to businesses.  We offer every financial incentive that exists according to state law, but we must also continue to improve public infrastructure and make this special part of our city as attractive as possible.  Large amounts of funding have been allocated here to modernize intersections, resurface streets, add pedestrian paths, and beautify our city with signage and landscaping projects.  Our latest project is the renovation of City Hall.

If we are going to ask businesses to come back to our original business district and renovate their buildings, should we not first do the same and show our commitment to “Original Southaven”?

Of course, we should.  Keeping the municipal government operation in our original business district shows that this district is truly “Original Southaven” and a vital part of Southaven’s future.  Renovating and investing in this building further proves this commitment.

Many of our citizens know that this building on Northwest Drive is one of the oldest commercial buildings in our city.  It was built in 1969 and originally housed the offices of the founders of the Southaven community who installed the first public utilities and built the first homes.  Cary Whitehead and Jon Reeves both had offices on the 4th floor where the City’s Finance and Administration offices are currently located.  Years later, many students attended college in the building when it was occupied by Northwest Mississippi Junior College.  The City has used the building as City Hall for a couple of decades now.  This has been a very efficient use of the building but, as time has passed, the building has deteriorated and developed problems.

In 2019, it’s important to improve the security of this building and the safety of our employees.  This renovation will eliminate the drive-through porch canopy and expand space for a larger reception area for our citizens.  The installation of bollards will prevent vehicles from getting to an unsafe proximity to the building.  Moving the counters of frequently-used departments closer together on the first floor will allow one access point from the main, west entrance and improve operational efficiency for employees and citizens.

First impressions matter!

We are the 3rd largest city in the state and the northern gateway to Mississippi.  Southaven recruits top-tier developments that can have tremendous economic benefits for our city.  It’s important that we “put our best foot forward” and improve our aggregate economic image.  Many things have been done in this general effort in recent years and the renovation of our hub of operations will play a big part in this as well.   

Our citizens deserve it!

This renovation will further improve ADA compliance with our building; modernize and expand first-floor bathrooms; resurface walls and flooring in the Boardroom and first floor; add permanent seating to the Boardroom; and add a “Tribute Hall” near the Boardroom entrance to honor former dedicated employees and citizens that have made tremendous impacts for our city in the past.

City Hall is approximately 50,000 square feet.  Constructing a new building of this size would cost, at minimum, $9 million.  The City values the efficiency of renovating this building for the total bid cost of $1,910,695 ($792,887 for the new roof, $1,117,808 for the exterior and first-floor renovations).  This project is currently under construction with completion projected in March, 2020.

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Nov 07

Desoto County Ranks 3rd Nationally in Industrial Submarkets

Posted on November 7, 2019 at 12:08 PM by Darren Musselwhite

“Why are there so many empty warehouses in Southaven?” is a question that I consistently receive.  Although there may have been times in the past when temporary vacancies were different, that is not what we are experiencing now.

Absorption is the economic term used to measure the net change in industrial space occupancy (move-ins minus move-outs).  *During the last twelve months, Desoto County ranks 3rd in the nation in positive industrial absorption.  At the end of the 2019 third quarter, industrial space in Desoto County is 90.9% occupied.

Our county is an extremely attractive place to locate or expand due to our two major interstate systems, proximity to air and water transportation, centralized geographic location, qualified workforce, and great quality of life amenities for the families of employees.

The City of Southaven has enjoyed rates of success just like our entire county in 2019 and continues to see positive growth and improved occupancy trends, most notably with the addition of Kruger (350,356 square feet) this year, Spectra Laboratories (211,000 square feet) currently under construction, and Medline Industries (1.4 million square feet) to be constructed in 2020.

 *CBRE Marketview, Q3 2019

Oct 22

Snowden Grove Pedestrian Project

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 2:54 PM by Melitta Duncan

We’re on our way to becoming a more pedestrian-friendly city!

Construction recently began on the multi-use trail at Snowden Grove Park that will allow pedestrian traffic to flow throughout the park from the BankPlus Amphitheater along Snowden Lane, continuing through the wooded area and around Sunset Loop through the baseball complex, connecting to Pine Tar Alley and ending at the tennis complex.  The awarded bid for this project totaled $736,685.50 and is being funded 80% by the federal Metropolitan Planning Organization after the City made application four years ago.

This project will further diversify our park to appeal to more citizens that want to walk, jog, and enjoy the peace of getting outdoors, in addition to sporting activities.  Snowden Grove was built initially as a baseball complex, but has been diversified with concerts at the BankPlus Amphitheater, tennis expansion, Field of Dreams playground, and soccer next year. 

This trail is part of a larger plan to make our city more pedestrian-friendly.  It will eventually connect to the Central/Snowden Grove Park multi-use trail, beginning construction in 2020, that will add another 10-ft. multi-use trail which will route southward down Tchulahoma from Central Park to May Blvd., then extending through Silo Square across Getwell to Snowden Grove.  Since bike lanes were added two years ago at Central Park and further westward down Clarington Drive, within three years we will have a connected pedestrian route from near Baptist-Desoto Hospital all the way to the tennis complex near Malone Road.  In addition to this route, the Main Street Pedestrian Project will be under construction in 2020 to add sidewalks along Main Street from Highway 51 to Saucier Park on Northwest Drive.  Also, as wide, “collector” streets are resurfaced in our city, bike/pedestrian lanes are being striped to further improve the network.  Colonial Hills Drive, Chesterfield Drive, and Greenbrook Parkway are recent examples of this.  Sidewalks were added in Carriage Hills and are mandatory by ordinance for future developments.

Southaven is known from a Planning & Development perspective as an “auto-era” city since we originated after the invention of the automobile.  Older cities, “rail-era”, were naturally developed in a more pedestrian-friendly way.  We’re gradually catching-up!
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