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Master planning process under way at MSU

November 21, 2010

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

A master plan at Mississippi State University currently under development includes several goals, including reducing water and energy consumption and movement toward longer-term transportation options.
Roger Baker, MSU campus master planner, provided an overview of the plan to to the Greater Starkville Development Partnership board of directors on Friday.
He provided a copy of his presentation, which included several goals for the plan. These include:
• Supplying a future vision.
• Creating a comprehensive decision-making structure, one which allows for what was described as “joined-up” thought processes.
• Allowing the development of a planning culture – an ongoing effort and “accounting” process for making decisions.
• Setting up a metric-based planning approach.
• Designing a living, flexible plan.
Other, more specific goals include:
• Planning and design developed with the climate in mind.
• Bolstering the land grant mission.
• Protecting the land for recreation, athletics, research, forestry and agriculture.
• Allowing room for the academic, research and outreach components.
• Encouraging infrastructure systems for the long-term.
• Operating the campus with efficiency and making coordinated investments.
• Fostering partnerships in economic development.
There are other targeted goals, including:
• A 50 percent rise in transportation options – which can be maintained over time – by 2020.
• A 20 percent drop in water consumption. in water consumption by 2020.
• A 30 percent decrease in energy use by 2020.
• A 50 percent cut in waste and a 50 percent rise in recycling use.
The next step for the master plan will be to obtain the draft plan and documentation from the master plan consultants, then there will be about an eight-week review and comment period, Baker said after the meeting.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to provide input and we welcome any and all comments,” he said.
University officials should be getting the draft plan and documentation within the next four to six weeks, Baker said.
For information, visit http://www.planning.msstate.edu/.
In other matters Friday, the GSDP board:
• Listened as Mayor Parker Wiseman provided and update on the progress of the Cotton Mill Marketplace project. Wiseman said: “They are progressing very, very quickly.”
There are public components of the project the city will manage, Wiseman said. The city has received approval for an $8 million Community Development Block Grant for a parking garage, the mayor said. Plus, as of this week, officials received approval for $3.8 million in highway grants, he said. This will be used primarily for what he described as a “fantastic” overhaul of Russell Street from Cotton Crossing to Highway 12. This includes converting this segment of the street into a boulevard with the addition of sidewalks.
“”The month of December will be a big month for them and all signs are positive they’re going to be able to put the project together,” Wiseman said.
The scope of the project includes a rework of the Cooley Building to convert it into a conference center, plus a hotel, restaurant, the parking deck “wrapped with mixed-use development,” he said. In total, the project will be a more-than $60 million development project, Wiseman said, describing it as “transformational.”
• Adopted its 2010-11 Budget. After the meeting Maynard provided deals on spending plan. The organiztion’s numbers are showing a little bit less revenue due to a large donor who came to the end of a Vision 2010, Maynard said.
“We’ve scaled back our expenses to work within reasonable revenue expectations,” he said.
GSDP officials intend to launch a capital campaign in the spring with goals to broaden the organization’s operational budget in the future to “position us for increased marketing and development activities designed to grow the economy and to enhance member services,” Maynard said.
The organization will work with a budget of $642,300, down $12,570 from this past year’s $654,870.
• Heard the board’s Nominating Committee, led by Terry Kemp, will work to fill two open slots on the board.

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