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Ridgeland Mississippi News

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Awarded to Ridgeland

City Clerk Paula Tierce and Mayor Gene McGee pose with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting awarded to the City of Ridgeland for its comprehensive annual financial report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. It is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

City Clerk Paula Tierce and Mayor Gene McGee pose with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting awarded to the City of Ridgeland for its comprehensive annual financial report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. It is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

Fall Ridgeland Life

Download Ridgeland Life Fall 2015 and get caught up on city news, learn about upcoming community events, and view the fall lineup of recreation and parks programs. Also, don’t miss news from local schools, the public library and the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce! Thank you to our lovely models on the cover, Liz Green and Linda Loper, who are enjoying a brisk walk during the Mayor’s Fun Walk 2014.

If you are interested in advertising in Ridgeland Life, please contact our Sponsorship Coordinator, Julie Cox, at 601-853-2011. For questions or comments about Ridgeland Life, contact Sandra Monohan at 601-856-7113.

The National Park Service Releases Environmental Assessment on the Construction of a Trail Connecting the Craft Center and the Natchez Trace Parkway

The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, seeks public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) to construct a pedestrian walkway between the Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway) and the Mississippi Craft Center.  The walkway will tie the Old Trace and Brashears Stand site parking area and the multi-purpose trails to the Craft Center walkway system. This project will provide direct access from the Parkway to the Craft Center.

How to Comment on the EA:

The public is invited to provide input on the EA, available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/natr. A copy of the EA can be made available upon request, and will also be available at the Craft Center. Comments received during the public comment period will be used to help evaluate issues and concerns to be further addressed in the environmental review process. If you wish to comment, post comments online at the address above, or mail comments to: Superintendent, Natchez Trace Parkway, 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS  38804. Comments will be accepted from September 4, 2015 through October 4, 2015.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

View the full news release by the National Park Service.

 

Officer Stevens Selected as Officer of the Month

Sept 1 2015 OOMOfficer Daniel Stevens was selected as Officer of the Month for July 2015 for actions that are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer. He was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on Sept. 1, 2015. Pictured, left to right, are Chief John Neal, Officer Daniel Stevens, and Mayor Gene McGee.

City of Ridgeland to hold Mayor’s Fun Walk

fun walk logoLet’s go walking Ridgeland…at the 2015 Mayor’s Fun Walk! This year’s walk will be held on Wednesday, October 21 at 9:00 am and will begin at the Ridgeland Recreational Center with a stroll on the beautiful multi-purpose trail.

Mayor Gene McGee will lead us on an easy (light) walk using the beautiful multi-purpose trail. You may walk as little or as much as you want. We will return to the Ridgeland Recreational Center for refreshments, door prizes, and entertainment! Our entertainment will be the musical trio, “Sally, Tim, and Mike.” They will perform a medley of classic rock, Motown, blues, and folk music. Music for everyone to enjoy!

Pre-registration is requested. Registration forms were mailed to area senior adults in our monthly senior newsletter. Interested seniors can also access the form on the city’s website at www.ridgelandms.org, click on ‘Licenses, Forms and Permits’ and scroll down to ‘Recreation and Parks.’

Pre-register by mail, postmarked no later than Friday, October 16, 2015. T- shirts guaranteed to first 250 registrants. Registrations should be mailed to: Ridgeland Recreation & Parks, P.O. Box 217, Ridgeland, MS  39158 or you may drop off your registration form to Ridgeland City Hall (Ridgeland Recreation & Parks Office) or Ridgeland Recreational Center

Call Ridgeland Recreation & Parks at 601-856-6876 or e-mail Lynda.Assink@ridgelandms.org for more information.

Natchez Trace Parkway Welcomes Fourth Grade Students Through Every Kid in a Park Initiative

New National Program Encourages Families and Classes to Visit National Parks

TUPELO, MS:  Natchez Trace Parkway invites all fourth grade students to visit the park as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. Starting September 1, fourth grade students can now go to www.everykidinapark.gov to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks.

“During the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, we want everyone to get to know their national parks, and we’re offering a special invitation to fourth graders and their families to discover everything that the Natchez Trace Parkway has to offer,” said Superintendent Mary Risser.

The Natchez Trace Parkway offers ranger-led educational opportunities in Tupelo, Ridgeland, and Natchez, Mississippi. Fourth graders are encouraged to bring their family and friends to the park’s many free weekend events including the upcoming Hernado de Soto Encampment, Pioneer Days, and National Public Lands Day. For more information on these and other activities, visit www.nps.gov/natr or call the Parkway Visitor Center at 662-680-4027.

To receive their free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website and play a game to access their special Every Kid in a Park pass. Fourth graders and their families can then use this pass for free entry to national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.  The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips, and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.

In addition to providing every fourth grader in America a free entry pass for national parks and federal public lands and waters, fourth grade educators, youth group leaders, and their students across the country will also participate in the program through field trips and other learning experiences.

The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect fourth graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come.  The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.

Every Kid in a Park is an administrative-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov

Donation Presented by Fleet Feet Sports

Fleet Feet donation 2015Fleet Feet Sports donated $2600 to the City of Ridgeland for the maintenance of the Ridgeland Multiuse Trail. Christy Campbell, Business Development Coordinator,  presented the check donation at the September 1, 2015 Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting. The donation was collected from the participant fees for the Turkey Day 8K event.

Natchez Trace Parkway Initiates Public Comment Period for the Stabilization of Old Agency Road Environmental Assessment

The National Park Service, in cooperation with the City of Ridgeland, seeks public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) of a project to stabilize Old Agency Road within the boundaries of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Stabilization is needed because a section of Old Agency road west of Whippoorwill Lane is threatened by adjacent land erosion related to a storm water drainage channel.  In addition to maintaining the infrastructure of Old Agency Road, the proposed improvements would ensure the safety of visitors and the preservation of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s natural and cultural resources.

The EA has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act to provide a decision-making framework that analyzes alternatives to meet the project’s purpose and need. In addition, the EA evaluates impacts to the parkway’s natural and cultural resources and identifies measures to lessen the degree or extent of any impacts from the proposed project.

How to Comment on the EA:

The public is invited to provide input on the EA, available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/natr. A copy of the EA can be made available upon request. Comments received during the public comment period will be used to help evaluate issues and concerns to be further addressed in the environmental review process. If you wish to comment, post comments online at the address above, or mail comments to: Superintendent, Natchez Trace Parkway, 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS  38804. Comments will be accepted from August 21-September 21, 2015.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

www.nps.gov

 

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Superstar Seniors September 2015 Calendar

The Superstar Seniors Programs offered by the City of Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department are open to all ages! Enjoy art classes, Bible study, bridge games, dancing, and a variety of exercise classes. Weekly, monthly, and special programs for the month of September can be found here: September 2015 Superstar Seniors Calendar.

The Process: Costco and the City of Ridgeland

RIDGELAND, MISS. AUGUST 17, 2015—In discussing the news of high-end retailer, Costco, developing a site on Highland Colony Parkway, Mayor Gene McGee stressed the very competitive nature of economic development and the importance of it to every municipality. “Because continued, strong expansion of the economic and tax base allows citizens of Ridgeland to enjoy a high level of city services and quality of life, we are always open to discussions with corporations who share our vision for the City’s continued managed growth and prosperity,” stated McGee.

It is this competition to land the most desirable corporations that requires a process that is secretive by nature. Both parties want to ensure that information gathering and discussions of potential projects be kept confidential. This is to keep business competitors unaware of plans, to deter other municipalities from attempting to lure away new business and to avoid news of new development driving-up land prices. According to Alan Hart, Director of Community Development, “Ridgeland has long been a leader in economic development because of its professional standards. We will continue to work in this manner so that we can continue to effectively grow our City.”

Beginning in 2006, the City of Ridgeland, along with residents, businesses, strategic planners, city department heads and others, worked diligently for over a year, to determine goals, strategies and challenges for creation of a Master Plan that would become the blueprint of the future. The Master Plan, finalized and approved in 2008, is the directive on development within the City of Ridgeland.

In 2014, Costco’s Mississippi real estate representative was looking at a number of locations in Jackson and Madison County to build a large retail development. Rumors began to circulate of Costco locating within the Metropolitan area. In August 2014, City of Ridgeland was asked to provide information on six (6) sites along I-55 for consideration. Upon learning that Lake Harbour Drive Extension was a planned project, Costco’s consultant determined that the Highland Colony Parkway site suited the requirements of Costco. In this meeting, City of Ridgeland was advised that all discussions must be held in strict confidence.

In September 2014, the Costco representative began the process to acquire the real estate. It was at that time that City of Ridgeland named the project “Santa Claus” so that discussions could be on-going without divulging the name of the corporation. In December 2014 the Costco representative chose Andrew Mattaice to lead development and acquisition.

At a planning retreat February 27, 2015, the Mayor informed the Board of Alderman that Costco was the anchor tenant being considered and stated that all discussions must be confidential.

Because Mayor McGee was contractually forbidden from acknowledging that conversations were on going between Costco, Mattaice and the City of Ridgeland, McGee could only say that such conversations among the public were rumors. Such requirements for secrecy are common in economic projects and were, in fact, in place when Nissan, Toyota and other corporations have looked at sites in Mississippi.

At 10:30 a.m. on August 12, 2015, Mayor McGee informed Mattaice that public speculation was growing and incorrect information was being circulated that needed to be corrected. At that time Mattaice authorized Mayor McGee to disclose that Costco was the developer after Costco officials consented to the release.

“Quite frankly, I have been surprised by the negative comments of some residents while the majority of citizens are very excited and supportive of Costco locating within City of Ridgeland. I assure all citizens that, while I was not allowed to even acknowledge “Costco” as a possibility, once being released of the confidentiality requirement, my door is open. That has been my policy since day one, and will continue,” stated McGee.

Project Timeline

  • March 2014 – Dick Ambrosino contacted Costco’s local real estate team and proposed the exact same site being discussed today along with a finance deal that didn’t apparently interest Costco at the time.
  • August 26, 2014 – Costco’s local real estate team met with city of Ridgeland officials at which time the City of Ridgeland offered a drawing that illustrated 6 available sites along I-55 for their consideration. During this meeting they immediately gravitated to the site being discussed today after realizing Lake Harbour Drive Extension was already a planned project. At this meeting, we were advised that all discussions must be held in strict confidence and could not be discussed.
  • August 28, 2014 – Ridgeland officials offered a conceptual site plan illustration on the site being discussed today for the local real estate team’s discussion with Costco.
  • September 2014 – the local real estate team began looking into acquiring the real estate after they decided this was the best site for them. It was at this time, we coined the project “Santa Claus” in order to continue discussions and protect confidentiality with regard to Costco.
  • December 2014 – the local real estate team selected Andrew Mattiace to lead the development and acquisition.
  • February 27, 2015 – the Mayor and Board of Aldermen participated in a city planning retreat at which time the Mayor informally informed the Board that Costco is the anchor tenant being considered and stated that all discussions must be confidential.
  • Throughout the 2015 legislative session – city officials participated in meetings with lobbyist, state-wide elected officials, and representatives and senators to lobby for state assistance in funding Lake Harbour Extension.
  • 9:00 a.m. April 28, 2015 – City officials met with Costco officials and their architect and engineer to discuss the review process.
  • 11:30 a.m. April 28, 2015 – City officials met with Andrew Mattiace and Costco officials to discuss other details of the project.
  • June 2, 2015 – Mayor and Board of Aldermen conducted a public hearing and adopted a zoning ordinance amendment that added the classification of Large Master Planned Commercial Development which establishes a use type that requires a minimum 15 acres and a 100,000 sq. ft. tenant in order to have a fueling center.
  • 10:30 a.m. August 12, 2015 – Andrew Mattiace authorized Gene McGee to disclose “Costco” after Costco officials consented to the release.