STARKVILLE — Aldermen received a bike- and pedestrian-friendly master plan at their work session Friday and will be looking at future ways to make the city more accessible.
Representatives with Memphis-based planning and design company Kimley-Horn presented an extensive master plan with recommendations for improving residents’ access to parks, bike lanes and open space. A National Recreation and Park Association grant paid for the plan.
“One way to increase quality of life in a city is to provide residents walkable access to parks, open space and other open roads,” said Mike Hammond, a landscape architect with Kimley Horn.
As part of researching the plan, the company administered surveys, online and in person, to determine how often Starkville residents use parks and recreational services and what they would like to see improved within the city.
After analyzing these surveys, Kimley-Horn recommended Starkville set design standards for signage, create wayfinding and mapping of all open spaces and organize a committee to help maintain and improve existing infrastructure. The main goal, Hammond said, is to create a roadmap to close the gaps on areas of the city that did not have a 10-minute walk to parks and open spaces.
Hammond also presented recommendations for various bike lanes throughout the city.
“It’s a really lofty goal for the city of Starkville, but we want this bike lane to be a really aspirational plan,” Hammond said. “… (It can be something) the city can really use for decades to implement all of these pieces and potentially revise this plan as the city grows outwards.”
Hammond said this plan has short- and long-term goals, with the short-term goals taking up to five years to complete, while some of the long-term goals the city would be working on for decades to come. The overall budget for the recommendations is $58 million, but that money would be spread out over 30 to 40 years, Hammond said.
Mayor Lynn Spruill supported the plan but said the city will have to look at which recommendations it can afford.
“We’re going to be looking at this for the next 30, 40, 50 years as we go forward, but we’ll be looking at it every five or so years to see where it might change and what we’ve succeeded in doing and checking the box,” Spruill said. “For us to be a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly community is one of our goals. I think this makes us a more liveable city — a city where the quality of life matters.”