By NATHAN GREGORY
The Starkville Board of Aldermen consented to allow for closing Main Street from 3-10 p.m. Oct. 12 so workers can set up facilities to hold Maroon Madness in downtown Starkville.
The second annual event featuring the Mississippi State University men’s and women’s basketball teams as they prepare to start their seasons will start at 6 p.m. that day on a half-size basketball court which will be set up downtown. The event is being held in conjunction with Pumpkinpalooza, which is a fall festival held each year in Starkville.
Before organizers of the two events made plans to merge them, the board originally approved to close Main Street from 4-8 p.m., but setup and teardown of the court will require more time, Greater Starkville Development Partnership Vice President for Tourism Jennifer Gregory said.
Gregory said having the two events together is advantageous for people who want to see the Bulldogs start their 2012-13 campaign and participate in the annual festival.
“(MSU and the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau) worked very closely together to cross-promote events to make sure Starkville residents and visitors didn’t have to choose between one or the other and can see both,” she said. “Pumpkinpalooza is a New South Weekend event centered around home football game weekends. The strategy behind promoting those events is closely related to MSU athletic events, so we felt like it was a good fit.”
In business on the board’s general agenda, a 5-2 vote in support of proceeding with a Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Program (CAP) to extend sewer services to southwest areas of the city that were annexed in 1998 and fix sewer and stormwater deficiencies on Carver Drive and in the Woodland Heights area. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 7 Aldermen were the only opposing votes.
Nearly 70 percent — $1.03 million of the $1.5 million loan will be used to fund construction in the areas annexed by Starkville in 1998.
The remaining $469,533 will be spent on Carver Drive and Woodland Heights sewer improvements.
The city will pay for the loan through debt serviced from its water and sewer enterprise fund and does not include a rate increase.
The board approved minutes from the Sept. 18 meeting, which included approval of removing the emergency access gate at the closed end of Douglas McArthur Drive. Mayor Parker Wiseman announced that through a recent Attorney General’s opinion, abstentions from a vote count toward the override of a veto. Wiseman previously announced his plan to veto a 3-2 vote in favor of removing the gate. Two aldermen — Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn, abstained from voting, meaning if a motion to override Wiseman’s veto were to be presented on a future agenda would pass if the vote breakdown were the same in that meeting as it was Sept. 18. A super-majority, or five out of seven aldermen, must either vote to override a mayor’s veto or abstain from voting in order for a successful override.
Dumas said the board has a duty to protect the quality of life of Green Oaks residents, but noted that disallowing entrances to roads is not representative of collective city planning.
“We see the same issue on South Montgomery, where communities and neighborhoods have been allowed to insulate themselves and not understand the impact of when we don’t look at collective planning and the idea of connectivity and how that important that is in a community and the impact it has not only not on our neighbor, but the impact it has on ourself,” Dumas said. “We have a fantastic city staff from a planning perspective that is often times the whipping post. They do, in fact, now require that things are built to standards that don’t build the types of roads that become race tracks for people cutting through from a land use that should not have been there in the first place.”