Roses and thorns: 12-23-19




A rose to Andy Boyd, who will be leaving his position as director of The Frank P. Phillips YMCA at year's end. In his 10 years as director, Boyd helped steer the way through a transformative period in the organization's 95-year history, a tenure that saw a major renovation at the Columbus Y, a successful effort to save the New Hope facility from closing and the sale of Camp Pratt, which allowed the Y to establish a firm financial footing going into the future. Many of these decisions were difficult. Some were unpopular. Boyd, who "grew up" at the Y and whose devotion to it was beyond question, helped soothe hurt feelings and make it possible for the Y to pursue what was best for the organization and its members. His friendly nature and sense of fair play were integral in keeping the membership together in those situations. He leaves the Y better than he found it, and he'll definitely be a tough act to follow.



A rose to Hull Property Group, the new owner of Leigh Mall, for a small, but important good faith gesture. The owners have hired Falcon Contracting to fill potholes in the mall parking lot. It's a small project -- 75 tons of asphalt at a cost of $10,000 -- to fill some of the bigger potholes on the property as customers visit the mall during the Christmas shopping season. Even so, it's a sign that the new owners, who bought the mall during an October auction, intend to improve the property. Although the company has yet to divulge future plans for the mall, we'll take this as a sign that it intends to invest in the property now and in the future.




A rose to the Starkville Board of Aldermen for adopting an updated uniform development code, a near-herculean task that started in 2017 and included five drafts and innumerable changes based on public feedback. No one assumes that the updated code covers every contingency nor would it ever be likely to gain universal approval. Some issues, such as code requirements for rental properties, were not included and will have to be resolved at a later date. Even so, the finished product, approved during Tuesday's board meeting, is a definite improvement over the previous code. What's more, citizens were given many opportunities to weigh in on the proposed changes throughout the process and many of those suggestions are reflected in the code adopted Tuesday. The finished product represents hundreds of hours of work by city officials. We applaud their efforts as well as those of the citizens who participated in this long process.



A rose to the new owner of the Omnova property in East Columbus. Although the new owner has yet to come forward, Realtors with Rhett Real Estate confirmed the sale Wednesday. For years, the fate of the massive property -- 680,000 square feet of developed space on an 80-acre parcel -- has hung in the balance. SNS Solutions of New Jersey had the property under contract as it sought to find tenants and negotiate a purchase. When those efforts ended in June, the property went back onto the market. With the purchase, there is renewed hope that the facility will be used to its full capacity, creating jobs and tax revenues for the city. Currently, just 200,000 square feet are in use by Omnova Solutions, which has leased that portion of the property as a distribution center. We look forward to hearing from the new owner about their plans.




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