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Ridgeland Mississippi News

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.

 

 

 

Superstar Seniors August 2015 Activities

August newsletter 2015 Downloadable PDF file of the August newsletter 2015 for Superstar Seniors.

Wheatley Street Improvements

Wheatley Street will be closed to thru traffic this week. Please use alternate routes such as School Street, Pear Orchard and Towne Center Blvd to avoid Wheatley Street from School Street to the northern entrance to Wal-Mart. Wheatley will not be closed to local traffic. One-lane closures with flagmen directing vehicles can be expected.

  • The construction schedule for Wheatley Street:  Tuesday, July 28 – pave from School Street to Lake Harbour Drive and Thursday, July 30 – mill from Lake Harbour Drive to Wal-Mart’s north entrance.
  • Wheatley Street from Wal-Mart to County Line Road will be closed during the first two weeks of August for milling and paving. Please use the detour route shown on this map – Towne Center Blvd, Pear Orchard Road and County Line Road – during that portion of the road improvement project.

Neal Sworn In As Ridgeland Police Chief

John Neal was sworn in by Mayor Gene McGee on July 1, 2015 as the Ridgeland Police Chief. Neal had most recently served the Ridgeland Police Department as Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigations Division, and he has worked for the Ridgeland Police Department for almost 27 years. Neal was appointed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on May 19 to begin his new position after Randy Tyler retires as Police Chief on June 30.

Lieutenant John Neal was sworn in by Mayor Gene McGee on July 1, 2015 as the Ridgeland Police Chief. Neal has worked for the Ridgeland Police Department for almost 27 years, serving in both the patrol and investigations divisions and as commander in those divisions. He was appointed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on May 19 to begin his new position after Randy Tyler retires as Police Chief on June 30.The Ridgeland Police Department works to protect and serve the public in Ridgeland and consists of 85 employees.

Police Officer of the Month

Officer Erin Boyd was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on June 16, 2015 for being selected as Officer of the Month for May. Mayor McGee informed Officer Boyd that her actions were commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.

Officer Erin Boyd was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on June 16, 2015 for being selected as Officer of the Month for May. Mayor McGee informed Officer Boyd that her actions were commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.

Superstar Seniors July Newsletter

Download the latest news and announcements as well as the monthly calendar of programs and events for Superstar Seniors here:  July 2015 Newsletter.

Colonel McCollum Awarded Legion of Merit

Colonel John M. McCollum is presented with the Legion of Merit award at the June 2, 2015 City of Ridgeland Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. Colonel McCollum who serves as the City of Ridgeland Public Works Director was recognized with the award upon retirement from a 31-year career with the United States Army. At the culmination of his military career, McCollum was holding the position of Executive Officer of the 4010 United States Army Hospital with the Army Reserve Medical Command. His outstanding leadership, technical competence and distinctive accomplishments contributed immeasurably to the Army. He is recognized for distinguished performance of duty that represents exemplary service in the finest tradition of the United States Army.

Colonel John M. McCollum is presented with the Legion of Merit award at the June 2, 2015 City of Ridgeland Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. Colonel McCollum who serves as the City of Ridgeland Public Works Director was recognized with the award upon retirement from a 31-year career with the United States Army. At the culmination of his military career, McCollum was holding the position of Executive Officer of the 4010 United States Army Hospital with the Army Reserve Medical Command. His outstanding leadership, technical competence and distinctive accomplishments contributed immeasurably to the Army. He is recognized for distinguished performance of duty that represents exemplary service in the finest tradition of the United States Army.

Mike McCollum, Director of Public Works for the City of Ridgeland, was honored at a recent Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting with a presentation of the Legion of Merit medal. Known as Colonel John M. McCollum to the United States Army, McCollum accepted this medal upon retirement after a 31-year career. The Legion of Merit medal, instituted in 1942, is earned for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States. The City of Ridgeland chose to officially recognize his service to our country in the ceremonial presentation on June 2.

Colonel McCollum culminated his years of service with the Army Reserve Medical Command as the Executive Officer of the 4010 United States Army Hospital. His distinguished career began June 1981 and included holding positions of increasing responsibility at various locations throughout the world until May 2013.

As stated on The Legion of Merit presented to McCollum, “His outstanding leadership, technical competence and distinctive accomplishments contributed immeasurably to the Army. Upon retirement, Colonel McCollum is recognized for distinguished performance of duty that represents exemplary service in finest tradition of the United States Army.”

Mayor Gene McGee said, “The City of Ridgeland is privileged to have such an outstanding military officer as Colonel McCollum on our staff. He performs an exemplary job as a Department Head for the City of Ridgeland, and many of his capabilities can be attributed to his military training. He exhibits model leadership and is well respected and appreciated by city officials.”

Besides serving as Commander and Executive Officer for the 4010 United States Army Hospital, other significant leadership roles include Commander for the 324 Personnel Replacement Battalion and Theater Personnel Directorate Operations Chief.

Colonel McCollum planned for the deployment of personnel units in the Theater of Operations in preparation for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. He planned the location of mail facilities and personnel replacement centers. As a result of his preparation efforts, over 250,000 military and civilian personnel were accounted for, received mail services and were tracked for personnel replacement as required.

Colonel McCollum was a key individual who successfully led a Task Force of 317 personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, DA civilian and Arkansas National Guard from all over the United States to conduct the unprecedented Innovative  Readiness Training Mission in 2011. As a result of his leadership, over 5595 residents and 257 animals received desperately needed medical care.

As the Battalion Commander of the 324 Personnel Replacement Battalion, Colonel McCollum led the 324 to conduct multiple training exercises culminating in the Personnel Accountability and Strength Reporting mission for Operation Bright Star in Egypt. He established the in-country processing stations for all United States personnel entering and leaving the country and fostered a cordial relationship with the Egyptian Commanding General and his staff that facilitated communications between the two forces. As a result of his efforts, over 30,000 United States military and civilian personnel were accounted for and processed in and out of the country without incident.

The City of Ridgeland extends congratulations to McCollum on his outstanding military career and retirement from the U.S. Army.

 

Police Officer of the Month

Ridgeland Police Officer Gerald West was selected for Officer of the Month for April, 2015. Officer West was recognized at the June 2 Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. His actions are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.

Ridgeland Police Officer Gerald West was selected as Officer of the Month for April, 2015. Officer West was recognized at the June 2 Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. His actions are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.

Police Officer of the Month

Ridgeland Police Officer Jason Haven was selected as Officer of the Month for April, 2015. Officer Haven was recognized at the May 19, 2015 Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. His actions are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.

Ridgeland Police Officer Jason Haven was selected as Officer of the Month for April, 2015. Officer Haven was recognized at the May 19, 2015 Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting by Mayor Gene McGee. His actions are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer.