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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Starkville Community Market is getting some finishing touches after moving to its new site at the corner of Lampkin and Jackson streets two years ago.
âA small crew of MSU students and a recent graduate have continued site work on the Market site to finalize all the site improvements to accommodate safety issues, accessibility and beautification,â said Dylan Karges. âThis summer, we have completed the fencing around the site at the northwest and northeast corners and have prepared to pour concrete, creating a third entry to the Market from the Jackson Street sidewalk. We continue to work on a small divider between the marketâs green space and the gravel parking area used by our vendors and Boardtown Trading Post during the week.â
The lower level of the site, which is not currently being utilized, will eventually feature a sculptural installation, some green space and bike racks.
Once the construction work is finished, planners will focus on landscaping, particularly the addition of trees to provide some much needed shade during the summer months.
Another recent addition is the Community Market Mural. The mural is the first of several to be used as art-based markers at significant local landmarks like the Heritage Museum, the Community Theatre and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. The project is a collaboration between the Community Development Training Fund, the City of Starkvilleâs Beautification Committee and several MSU students.
âThis initiative will create immediate and lasting impact for the community, helping to strengthen the foundation for future economic and tourism development, heighten the visibility of the arts and other cultural resources in the community, ... raise the bar aesthetically for the downtown area and hopefully create momentum for future projects embracing Oktibbeha County as a whole,â said Karges.
The market has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The site was formerly used by East Mississippi Lumber Company, but had been vacant for many years.
âThe site was nothing except a gravel parking lot with dirt and rubble overflowing the lower terrace and a dumpster in the middle,â said Karges. âItâs been a pretty incredible collaboration from the very beginning. Itâs been a lot of sweat equity and volunteer labor.â