Board of Aldermen gives outlook for 2018
Ricki Garrett, Alderwoman at Large
In looking ahead to the year 2018 and the future of Clinton, I want to focus on a mind-set and philosophy, rather than specifics. Although details are important in carrying out a plan, we must first have a picture in our mind of what we want our city to be. Of course, not all of us will see the same picture exactly, but I think we all know what a successful city looks like.
Clinton has always been stymied in some ways by the conflict between those who want it to stay the way it has always been and those who want it to grow and change. As we work with the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to create a new long-range plan for our city, hopefully, we can make the most of our strengths, while also taking advantage of some creative, innovative ideas for making Clinton a city that appeals to old and young alike and incorporates amenities that will draw new residents and businesses to the city.
Interestingly, the Baby Boomer Generation, which is now at, or close to, retirement age, and the Millennials, who are buying homes and starting families, have one thing in common. They both want to live in mixed use areas in smaller homes or lofts, which still have all the amenities of the larger suburban homes. According to Paul Takahashi in an article for the Houston Business Journal, both Baby Boomers and Millennials want to locate in areas where they can dine, shop and be entertained, all within walking distance.
We are very fortunate in Clinton to have a historic Olde Towne, as well as a top-ranked university and a Boulevard that has enormous potential for enhancement and development. We also have the advantage of a highly touted K-12 system, and the future benefits of a large industrial partner, Continental Tire. With vision and proper planning, Clinton can make the most of these advantages and draw to our city those who prefer a unique and special community over the cookie cutter developments of the past. We can also expand our cultural and entertainment opportunities, which provide further incentives for all age groups who want to make Clinton their home.
By engaging the young families and college students in this process, as well as those who have had a longtime stake in the future of Clinton, we can begin to create a shared vision for our city. I hope you will join us in making that vision a reality.
Jim Martin, Ward 2
At the October 3, 2017, groundbreaking ceremony for a segment of the Norrell Road Corridor, Highway Commissioner Dick Hall joked about a gentleman who asked him if he knew that our sun was expected to burn out in 100,000 years and wondered how MDOT could finish the construction project on Interstate 55 South to Byram in the dark. While that project has had numerous issues, it reminded me that most favorably anticipated projects take much longer than we desire.
The much needed milling and paving of the Clinton Parkway, anticipated in 2017, is looking for completion in 2018. The new Pinehaven Road fire station is nearing completion. The Continental Tire plant has completed the enormous dirt work portion of the project and is on schedule for beginning construction of the training facility and production plant. Sales and tourism tax dollars will continue to increase with Continental Tire construction workers staying in our motels and dining in our restaurants and with products and services purchased by Continental.
The Merit Health Medical Group building and Fuzzy’s Taco restaurant are nearing completion on Clinton Parkway. Highway 80 is scheduled to see new buildings in 2018, with Kolbs Cleaners being replaced with a new Trustcare Medical emergency care facility and the buildings east of El Sombrero being replaced with Cook Out restaurant. Those new businesses are nice additions to the Parkway and Highway 80.
Much work has been undertaken to promote Clinton for new retail businesses and restaurants. Favorable interest is being received. Hopefully, results will soon be forthcoming, at least before the sun burns out.
President Trump unabashedly states that he is looking out for U.S. interests first. I, and the other aldermen/women, am looking out for Clinton interests first. However, regional interests also benefit Clinton. Encouraging work on the remaining sections of the Norrell Road Corridor will open accessibility to Hinds County land adjacent to Clinton for development, residential and commercial. It will be interesting to see what development comes around the Continental Tire plant. These developments should benefit Clinton.
Looking out for Clinton interests first encourages shopping and dining in Clinton. Support for our businesses shows prospective businesses that they will receive similar support. That cannot be overemphasized! There are, of course, times that we go outside of Clinton to find what we desire to buy and eat. When the restaurant manager comes by to inquire about your meal, tell him/her that you are from Clinton and would dine with them more often if they would open one in Clinton. Everyone can assist with recruitment. We encourage and welcome our out-of-town neighbors to come to Clinton to shop and dine. Supporting businesses in Hinds County and other cities in Hinds County should be our second priority. Expanding that circle then follows.
In your travels around town, hopefully you see improvements. While seemingly slow, know that in 2018 your Mayor and Board of Aldermen/women will continue to promote Clinton, maintain the good that we have and seek improvement.
Bill Barnett, Ward 3
As I look forward to 2018, I feel good about the positive things that are happening in the city and in Ward Three.
Construction of new homes in our ward is moving on at a fast pace, with Cedar Hill Place, Copper Creek Phase III and Windsor Plantation.
We will be having a ribbon cutting on Fire Station #4 in early January. The opening of this station will help the citizens in the northern part of Clinton get better fire protection and should lower the insurance rates for the city. The new fire truck is already here, and fire fighters are already trained and ready to work at the new station.
The Lion’s Club and the City of Clinton, along with several other groups, are working on the plans for a new Lions Club park that will be built just south of the current park on Leake Street. The new park will be a state of the art park that meets all ADA requirements.
As your Alderman, I will work to support the goals this board set when we started our term (crime prevention, better fire protection, economic development and maintaining property values).
These are the major things I see in Ward Three in 2018.
If you have any concerns or problems that you would like to discuss with me, feel free to contact me. I can be reached at 601-924-7249 or cell phone 601-954-9610. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan Cossitt, Ward 5
I maintain that the outlook for Clinton and its future depends on our Clinton Public School District and Mississippi College maintaining it’s A rating and tradition of excellence. We must continue to strengthen our police, fire and other City services. We have an infrastructure that needs constant attention, thus we must regularly reassess a workable time table. We must streamline and work smart for a bright future. We must work hard at maintaining strong middle class families. This is critical for ensuring Clinton to be a thriving, diverse city where people want to live and employers want to relocate. Affordable housing for middle-income earners must be made available. Fortunately, some of our developers have taken notice and action. Our mayor and board are collaborating and allowing builders with new ideas. We have discovered that cities grow when residents have increased walkability for all ages. Our goal is securing more government funding for walking and bike trails, which will enhance the outstanding and proven parks and recreational services which we currently enjoy and serve as one of the most important factors in surveying how livable is Clinton. In the not-too-distant future, our citizens will be able to walk or ride their bike to almost any destination in Clinton. With our population increasing in quantity, we are increasing in age. Baby boomers are living longer, and the vast majority of them do not want to leave their homes or Clinton as they age. Some adaptions are in order. By putting aging citizens’ needs and habits first and focusing on changes in infrastructure, development (Cracker Barrel and, my favorite, Steak & Shake) and community-building, our seniors can continue to participate in city life, promote health and wellness and continue to make Clinton their life long home no matter your age. I ask that you pray for the mayor and your alderman or alderwoman that we will have the wisdom to lead in this rapidly changing world. Our outlook is bright as our citizens, our greatest asset!
Mike Cashion, Ward 6
2018 is going to be a busy year.
The Administration is committed to staying the course with our agreed upon priorities.
There are some exciting projects that will come to fruition. The Olde Towne development project will be a huge shot in the arm for the city. Continental Tire construction will see more people staying in Clinton, growing our sales tax figures. We continue to recruit retail and restaurants. Many have shown indications of wanting to locate in Clinton. The process is often drawn out, but we are now on a lot of radar screens!
On the public safety front, we are proud of the new fire station on Pinehaven. It will improve emergency response times and provide another layer of protection for residents. We are confident that the budgeted amount of police officers is currently adequate, so our focus will expand to utilizing technology in crime prevention efforts. Strategic investment and placement of modern system will augment the presence of the physical officers. Our traffic patrol division will continue to address traffic related issues.
Still at the top of my list is neighborhood preservation. With more and more properties being turned over to the state, we need to look at how we can get these properties back on the tax rolls. I will sponsor forums where residents can understand how they can acquire these properties at drastically reduced rates.
Speeding continues to be a problem in many areas. I will present a policy proposal to the Board that addresses how a neighborhood may qualify for traffic calming measures.
With the 3 mil tax increase, it will be good to be able to pave more roads in 2018. We must consider not just roads that need repaving, but streets that need more substantive repair.
We will be starting the much-needed Magnolia Road repair in the late spring and early fall.
I am excited to see the projects approved in the Livable Neighborhood Grant Program come to fruition. These include additional security cameras and neighborhood signage throughout the ward.
Clinton is moving forward at a faster rate than ever. I hope everyone will embrace the activities and help us move the city toward reaching its full potential.