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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.