Nov 19

Main Street Pedestrian Project

Posted on November 19, 2020 at 11:38 AM by Melitta Duncan

Recently, the City awarded the lowest and best bid to Ferrell Paving in the amount of $1,393,727.42 to begin construction on this long-awaited and long-planned project.  This project will add sidewalks on both sides of Main Street extending from Highway 51 to Northwest Drive, then carrying southward along Northwest Drive to City Hall and Saucier Park.  It will also add new mast arm traffic signals with pedestrian crossing options at the intersection of Whitworth/Main.

 The City received federal co-op money administered through MDOT in the amount of $991,341 allowing the City to fund this project completely with just $487,386.42 of City funds.  Projects like this get delayed from time to time due to property right-of-way and utility obstacles.  Projected completion of this project is in September, ‘21 and will be well worth the wait as it will help us with our goals of the revitalization of our original business district and the improvement of pedestrian options in our city.

 If you haven’t been to Saucier Park behind City Hall, you are missing a beautiful park.  Connecting this park to this new pedestrian path will add an excellent new amenity for our citizens.

Oct 28

Police Body Cameras

Posted on October 28, 2020 at 3:01 PM by Darren Musselwhite

Recently, the City entered an agreement with Axon to implement the use of body cameras for all of our police officers for the first time in our history.  The cost of this lease program is $185,000 annually in which Axon provides the City complete maintenance of the equipment, data redaction capabilities, and data storage.

The City has been researching and planning this implementation for several years, but had concerns about the safety of our officers having to manually turn on cameras in dangerous, time-sensitive settings; the privacy of our citizens with inadvertent footage; and the cost of storing data.  Axon is a leader in this technology that has advanced tremendously in recent years and now has a program that has resolved all of these concerns.

Our objective with this program has a two-pronged purpose:

1) To ensure the utmost standards of professionalism by our Police

2) To protect our Police and City from ridiculously false accusations that are commonplace in our society now, which we have experienced firsthand in recent years

We expect this program to be 100% implemented within 45 days.

Oct 23

May Blvd Pedestrian Bridge Update

Posted on October 23, 2020 at 1:26 PM by Darren Musselwhite

Recently, the design of this bridge was completed by UrbanArch Associates, PC.  The City and UrbanArch have worked extensively this year to accomplish the goals of the City in preparation for building a beautiful bridge that will connect the largest pedestrian path in Southaven and Desoto County’s history.  They did an incredible job and I’m happy to display photos of the final design to our citizens!

Timelines on all projects have been affected by the challenges of 2020, but this bridge is now slated to bid before the end of this year with construction starting in January, 2021.  The construction is projected to be completed in September, 2021.  Recent supply chain challenges have affected the cost of materials which will obviously affect the total cost of construction, so our adjusted pre-bid estimate is $1.9 million.

Please read all details below from my original post last year.

This bridge will be iconic and pay huge dividends to our city!

Original Post on 11/20/2019…

Connecting the paths…

As we continue forward with our plan to make our city more pedestrian friendly, we have the opportunity to complete potentially the largest pedestrian route in Desoto County’s history.  Several years ago, the City received an alternative transportation grant from MDOT for a 10-ft.-wide multi-use trail designed to connect Central and Snowden Grove Parks. This trail will route from Central Park southward on Tchulahoma to May Blvd. and will finally be under construction in 2020.  A few years later in 2014, the City made application for federal Metropolitan Planning Organization funding assistance for another 10-ft.-wide multi-use trail that routes throughout Snowden Grove Park.  These funds were received this year and this trail is currently under construction with completion projected by year-end.  In 2017, pedestrian lanes were added throughout Central Park with a crossing over Swinnea Road connecting to lanes added along Clarington Drive to Airways Blvd. near Baptist-Desoto Hospital.  The only connecting pieces needed to complete this route are May Blvd. and a safe way to cross Goodman and Getwell Roads.  Since MDOT has authority on Goodman because it is a state highway, they will make traffic adjustments there and the City is designing a bridge to be built over Getwell at May Blvd. to connect all of these routes.

Traffic safety and congestion mitigation…

Traffic safety and congestion mitigation are major concerns on Getwell, in general, but will become more so as the development at Silo Square and surrounding areas progresses.  The traditional town square there will attract many pedestrians naturally creating a serious vehicle congestion problem when stopped while pedestrians cross Getwell to get to concerts and other park events.   The bridge will resolve this problem.

An economic attraction…

Our city is far behind many in our country regarding pedestrian routes.  Many citizens enjoy the quality of life afforded by walkable communities.  This bridge and connecting routes will move us forward tremendously with this type of amenity.  Connecting the pending business developments that include retail, restaurants, and hotels on both the east and west sides of Getwell with park events at Snowden Grove will create an entertainment district that our city has never had.  All of this improves the economic demand of our city resulting in economic growth and benefits that will pay dividends to all of our citizens for many years in the future.  More specifically, we envision this bridge to become iconic along with Snowden Grove Park and become a great marketing tool to increase tourism draw, and again, the resulting economic benefits that follow.

This bridge is currently in the design stage with proposed features similar to the ones at Vanderbilt University, the University of Missouri, and Foley, Alabama and will be built in compliance with federal safety standards for the utmost safety of both pedestrians and motor vehicles.  It will be funded as part of a capital improvement plan with a general obligations bond.  In 2020, 2021, and 2022, the City will have satisfied major debt obligations with one of the most significant being the original debt used to build Snowden Grove Park in 1999.  Total debt-service (payment) reductions equate to approximately $2.6 million annually.  Patience and sound financial management has put our city in the position to continue leveraging revenue to invest in our city’s future while still reducing debt and continuing to improve our net financial position.  Projected pre-bid construction cost estimates range between $1.2 and $1.6 million.  Construction is projected to begin in the third quarter of 2020. 

May Blvd Pedestrian Bridge Front View
May Blvd Pedestrian Bridge Side View