Jan 13

2020 State of the City

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 9:29 AM by Darren Musselwhite

Mayor’s General Update...

2019 was an incredible year for the City of Southaven as many long-planned projects became reality and we continued to build upon our economic success of the past.  We expect another great year in 2020 as all the vital signs for success are thriving.  Our priorities of public safety, aggressive infrastructure improvement, revitalization, beautification, and recreational enhancement will continue to make our city more economically-attractive leading to continued financial stability, and ultimately making our city an even better place to live.

REVITALIZATION OF “ORIGINAL SOUTHAVEN” 

West End Business District Incentive Progress…Buildings were renovated in 2019 as businesses recognize the value of this incentive package to build new or renovate existing buildings in this designated district on Stateline Road between Highway 51 and Airways and Highway 51 between Stateline and Dorchester Drive.  These incentives include a 7-year tax freeze for ad valorem taxes for the increase in taxable value as well as a waiver of license, permit, and utility fees.  Specifically, Wendy’s demolished their old building and completed a new facility in December, 2019 and the Magnolia Shops development at Stateline and Millbranch is currently under renovation.

City Hall Renovation…a $1.9 million project to renovate one of the oldest commercial buildings in Southaven which will improve the safety of many City employees, improve the City’s marketing image, and add to the revitalization attractiveness of the original business district currently under construction with completion projected for March, 2020.

Stateline Road Resurfacing…a $1.7 million project to resurface Stateline Road between I-55 east to Tchulahoma and Horn Lake Road west to Highway 301 to be completed including new striping in January, 2020.

Highway 51 Intersection Modernization Project…a $609,037 project to remove the old span-wire traffic signals and replace with beautiful mast arms with signals that have modern traffic communication and pedestrian capabilities completed in June, 2019

Monument Sign at I-55/Main Street…the first beautiful, brick-based monument sign with landscaping and lighting was completed in November, 2019 at this original entrance location showing our pride in the City’s original business district.

Horn Lake Creek Bridge Repair…a $2.4 million project to repair the Stateline Road Bridge over Horn Lake Creek that received financial assistance from the State’s Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund in the amount of $1,989,500 with construction to begin in mid-2020.

Arena Floor-Leveling…a $600,000 project planned and discussed in 2017 which leveled the oval section of the floor allowing more versatile use of this facility for multiple purposes in addition to volleyball and further tremendously improving the total use of the facility which was completed in August, 2019

Street Resurfacing for Wards 1 & 2…59.57% ($1,528,800/$2,566,241) of our general budget allocation for City streets was allocated to improving streets in need of resurfacing in our original neighborhoods in 2019.

Greenbrook/Stateline Median Landscaping Project…a $20,576 project to remove poorly-grown crape myrtle trees and add new landscaping to improve the look of one of our original residential neighborhood entrances completed in October, 2019

Main Street Pedestrian Project…a $1.5 million project which will add sidewalks from Highway 51 along Main Street to Saucier Park on Northwest Drive projected to begin construction in mid-2020

Main Street Decorative Light Poles…a project to remove many old, cluttered light poles on Main Street between Highway 51 and Northwest Drive and replace with beautiful two-headed decorative poles which will provide better lighting and, along with the Main Street Pedestrian Project, improve revitalization attractiveness in our original business district with pricing and construction timelines to be determined in late 2020

CITY BEAUTIFICATION

Monument Signs for City Entrances and High-Profile Intersections…a project to add beautiful, brick-based signs with landscape lighting on I-55 and other intersections to beautify our city and improve our economic attractiveness began in 2019 with the completion of the I-55/Main and I-55/Star Landing  signs with Goodman/Malone to begin construction in the spring of 2020.

Community Pride Awards & Adopt-a-Spot Beautification Program…successful use continues with these two programs to award private property owners for their exceptional efforts to beautify their properties and volunteer to beautify common areas of residential subdivisions which improves property values and the economic attractiveness of our city.    

District Banners…banners have been added in our new Metropolitan District as well as a new beautiful blue color design for our West End District banners.

AGGRESSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT

Street Resurfacing…$2,566,241 was allocated and completed in 2019 for our       neighborhood and arterial streets.  The City is currently researching a paving proposal to acquire equipment and hire personnel to resurface streets rather than contract these services, with the hope of being more efficient with funding and aggressively paving more streets each year.

Drainage Improvement…$500,000 was allocated to complete projects that had caused problems for many years.

Getwell South Widening Project…a federally-funded $8.7 million project to widen Getwell Road to five lanes from Church Road south to Star Landing Road with median and pedestrian paths pending five-years planning with right-of-way acquisition projected to be complete by late 2020 and construction beginning in early 2021

Pepperchase Road Extension…a state, county, city-co-op-funded $4.1 million project to extend this road from the Landers Center south to either Star Landing or Highway 51 currently under design with construction projected for late 2020

Snowden Grove Pedestrian Project…a $769,500 federally-funded project to add a 10-foot multi-use trail throughout Snowden Grove Park currently under construction with completion projected in February, 2020

Central/Snowden Grove Parks Multi-Use Trail…eight-year pending project moving dirt in the spring of 2020 connecting these two major parks with a 10-foot pedestrian trail routing south on Tchulahoma Road to May Blvd, then east to connect to the trail inside Snowden Grove Park.

May Blvd Pedestrian Bridge…an estimated $1.7 million project to safely connect the major pedestrian trails and numerous pending developments on both sides of Getwell at May Blvd without slowing vehicular traffic, designed in early 2020 with construction projected to begin in late 2020

Greenprint 2040…the City continues to cooperate with this Memphis-Metro plan to do our part in making our city and region more pedestrian friendly.  Sidewalks and bike lanes will continue to be added with new developments and existing streets as funding allows.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Silo Square…a $200 million 228-acre mixed-use development with a town square and pedestrian paths began construction in mid-2019 with initial business occupancies projected in mid-2020

Metropolitan Business District…a new business district created and defined in 2018 for the Church Road/I-55 area to incentivize and bring quality commercial development for this high-profile area has already been successful with attracting unprecedented, pending developments to be announced in 2020

Hilton Embassy Suites…developers are considering a different location after a 2-year planning process to bring a $40-million luxury hotel to the Metropolitan Business District.

Industrial Development…an incredible year welcoming $134 million of capital investments into our city to use 1,923,600 square feet of new facility space while creating 830 new jobs for manufacturing and distribution operations including global names such as Medline and Spectra Labs (Fresenius Medical Care)

Service, Retail, and Other Business…248 new businesses opened in 2019 creating 951 new jobs.

New Building Permits…405 new residential permits (highest since 2007) issued in 2019 for a total new property value of $41,961,709 in new construction as well as 22 new commercial permits with a value of $98,091,542

PARKS & RECREATION ENHANCEMENT & EXPANSION

Field of Dreams Playground…$448,400 special-needs playground was completed in April, 2019 adjacent to the Field of Dreams baseball field near the south entrance of Snowden Grove Park.

Greenbrook Indoor Softball Facility…7,800 square-foot facility is currently under construction near the main entrance to Greenbrook Park that will house four hitting/pitching tunnels with removable nets for a large multi-purpose training area, offices, concessions, bathrooms, and general assembly area projected to be completed and operational in March, 2020

Springfest BBQ Pavement Project…a $1,324,162 paving and landscaping project currently under construction to eliminate the nuisance of mud and poor drainage, which will also beautify this area and serve a dual purpose for additional concert parking projected to be completed in March, 2020

Soccer Expansion…a $5 million project currently under construction to add 7 new fields including bathroom, concession, and office facilities to property just north of the bowling alley at Pine Tar Alley/Snowden Lane which will complement the 5 existing fields on Stateline Road  to bring more participation and use for all with completion projected in late 2020

Turf at Snowden Grove & Greenbrook Parks…The City is currently studying the cost/benefit ratio of replacing the infield and foul-line natural grass areas of the baseball and softball fields with artificial turf.  There is significant cost savings with field maintenance and opportunity-cost savings from eliminated rain-outs that have initiated this consideration.  A decision has not been made at this time, but expected in 2020.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Fire Station #5…land has been secured for this long-planned project adjacent to the curve on Starlanding Road just west of Getwell for construction of a new fire station, currently being designed, to improve protection to the southeastern part of our city and potentially improve our already- excellent “Class 3” fire rating with construction projected to begin in late 2020

Fire Hydrant Expansion in Annexed Areas…completion of phase 6 of 6 of a $7.4 million project to increase the size of water lines to meet Southaven’s fire hydrant standard and improve fire protection in all annexed areas is projected to be under construction along Stateline Road near the northwestern edge of our city in mid-2020

Police Body Cameras…the City has been researching the benefits, costs, and implementation plan of using body cameras for our officers for the last two years and plans to begin the initial phases of demonstration in 2020.

FINANCIAL STABILITY

No Property Tax Millage Increases…Southaven continues to be the largest municipality in Desoto County, but only the 4th highest taxing entity of the 7 total.

No Utility Rate Increases

Growing Sales Tax Revenue…$15,148,749 revenue in 2019 is the highest in the City’s history and shows an excellent growth trend up from $12,499,170 in 2013

Government Finance Officers Association Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting (4th consecutive year)…a prestigious award given only to about 5% of approximately 89,000 cities/counties nationwide for going beyond typical accounting procedures to improve governmental financial transparency

Net Reserve Policy (Unassigned Fund Balance)…the City continues to maintain a minimum 12% fund balance as a percentage of general fund expenditures (Fiscal Year ’19 Audit to be completed in spring of 2020).

           

     

Dec 16

Soccer at Snowden Grove

Posted on December 16, 2019 at 4:41 PM by Melitta Duncan

Since Snowden Grove Park was built in 1999, the City has experienced unparalleled success with the baseball operation.  Along the way, the BankPlus Amphitheater was built and then later renovated with a stage enclosure and improved acoustic system.  The pace has been accelerated in recent years to diversify our park to further improve the appeal to even more interests.  Tennis was expanded along with the first-ever formal tennis program.  The Field of Dreams playground was completed earlier this year and both the Springfest Pavement/Landscaping Project and 10-foot multi-use trail extending throughout the park are currently under construction.

While Snowden has provided countless hours of enjoyment for so many, it has also become a significant economic asset for our city.  Direct revenue exceeding $2 million annually is generated by operations and incorporated into the City’s general fund with an additional tourism impact exceeding $11 million annually and an overall estimated economic impact of more than double this number.  Economic development continues to occur in this geographic area of our city largely because of the energy and demand created by our park.  The financial wherewithal generated by Snowden not only allows it to subsidize the upkeep of all other parks in our city, but also continues to provide revenues incorporated back into the City’s General Fund which improve amenities throughout our city.  Whether or not a citizen uses this park, they still receive the benefits of the economic impact created by it in the form of higher property values and stabilized property tax rates.

Snowden Grove Park has still not reached its potential both as a park and economic driver.  Our newest enhancement is soccer.  Soccer is in demand!  Many of our own citizens and many other people in our region travel to Memphis, other North Mississippi cities, and much further to play every year.  Soccer offers many opportunities for our youth and has the potential to have the same tourism draw as the baseball and tennis operation.  Construction recently began to add 7 new fields on the park property just north of the bowling alley on Snowden Lane.   Capitalizing on the demand of Snowden Grove Park, these new fields will allow the City to bring more traffic and use to the 5 existing fields on Stateline Road as well with both tournament and league play.

The awarded bid for the construction of the new fields was $4,430,272 with total including the concession/bathroom/office facility, to be bid later, projected just under $5 million.  This enhancement is completely funded by tourism taxes and projected to be completed in late 2020. 

Get ready for “Soccer at Snowden Grove”!
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Nov 20

May Blvd Pedestrian Bridge

Posted on November 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM by Darren Musselwhite

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. 
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