A rose to the Columbus City Council which has commissioned a new master plan for Propst Park. Prior to the vote, the city had been following a master plan created 20 years ago, Aside from the addition of a dog park and a handicap-accessible playing field, few changes have been made at the park. The old plan revolved almost exclusively around adding new baseball/softball fields. But studies show that participation in team sports has declined with more youth preferring to participate in more individual forms of recreation of playing team sports less frequently. The old plan did not address recreation opportunities for adults and senior citizens, either. We believe a new plan, one that takes into account the shifting landscape of recreation, will make the park more appealing and accessible to all of our citizens. That should be the priority. Ultimately, the success of any park relies on how many people use it. We believe a new study will help the city find features and amenities that will return Propst Park to the vibrancy it enjoyed in earlier times. The study is expected to cost about $15,000. We believe it’s money wisely spent.
A rose to our local downtown organizations for their efforts to support local businesses as the Christmas shopping season approaches. Downtown Columbus was bustling this morning during Main Street Columbus’ Saturday Christmas Open House. The Starkville Partnership’s and the West Point’s open houses are scheduled for Nov. 13- 14. We have always encouraged folks in the Golden Triangle to shop local because the money spent at our local businesses stays in our community through wages and taxes. But as the supply/shipping difficulties created by COVID-19 pandemic continues, there may never be a better time to shop early and shop locally than now. Our communities are blessed with a wide variety of excellent locally-owned retailers, many of them offering unique locally-crafted gifts. Shopping locally makes more sense than ever.
A rose to the city of Starkville’s human resources department and Mississippi State University’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development for its study on pay rates for city employees. The study compared wages paid in Starkville with those paid in other comparable Mississippi cities and found that the city would be wise to raise the minimum wage for city workers by roughly $1.40 per hour to $13.70 per hour. The Board of Alderman is expected to vote on those recommendations at its next board meeting. Raising the minimum wage makes entry-level jobs more appealing and will help the city retain employees, which is important as private-sector wages continue to increase. The average hourly wage in the United States hit its highest rate ever recorded in September at $26.15 per hour, so this will be a comparatively modest increase for city workers, but not an unimportant one.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.