VOL. 119 | NO. 43 | Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Southaven Expands Key City Service
New library reflects period of growth in heart of city
The Daily News
You could almost say the future of Southaven is an open
Two new regional shopping centers are in the works in Southaven,
but theres another project under way that signals growth in the North
Mississippi city of 30,000 residents. Southaven is preparing to expand its
library into a larger, more modern facility located in a municipal park in the
heart of town.
Promoting development. Southaven
Mayor Greg Davis said city officials have signed off on preliminary plans to relocate
the 15,000-square foot M.R. Davis Library into a 40,000-square-foot facility
that will include a coffee shop and wireless Internet access.
Its the latest example of the citys efforts to promote new
development. Branch librarian Linda Jowers said the
new library will mark a big change from the modest facility that opened in 1962
in the town. It will include outside walking trails and recreational space and
have the look and feel of a large urban library.
You see quite a bit more of this in some of the academic
libraries, and Ive seen some online discussion on it, Jowers
said. I think one thing the mayor was interested in is that it makes (the
library) a little more of a destination library.
The citys core. The
new facility will open down the street from the current library, located at
8889 Northwest Drive, to a site behind the Southaven Police Department at 8791
Northwest Drive. That puts the library in the towns 51 & Main Street area
where best-selling author John Grisham once operated a law office and wrote
his first book.
51 & Main Street, a group that operates as part of the
Southaven Chamber of Commerce, is specifically focused on the downtown area.
And the library is one of several additions and improvements the city is
spearheading in the district. Davis said Southaven is offering seven-year tax
breaks for improvements made to existing businesses or expansions in the 51
& Main Street area. In addition, Southaven will pay the architect fees for
businesses that want to renovate, he said.
As the core of Downtown, the area is a major draw for the
city. The library will be part of a municipal complex that includes Southavens
City Hall, Police Department and Fire Administration.
Town officials want to maintain the district as the center of Southavens government,
Amenities. Jowers added that the library will be an attraction on its
Its certainly going to be larger, because we have outgrown
the building were in and have no place to locate any additional expansion on our
property, Jowers said. And I think itll be kind of
nice being part of a city complex area there, and its a lovely site, too. I
think it will open up a lot of things we can do with childrens programming and
other types of events at the library building.
Part of it is, too, were expanding meeting room space,
which will be of benefit to the city. Well have more computers, some wireless
access available in the new building and were going to have expanded
childrens facilities and a story time room. Just more of
She said the library will offer several other advantages.
I think one is that well be easy on and easy off once they
get the expressway finished, Jowers said. And if
youre at Wal-Mart or eating on Goodman Road, you can be here in no time. I
think its just one more step in the citys work to keep all the areas of the
city vital and growing.
Moving forward. The
architect on the project is Southaven-based O. Marvin Johnson, who already has begun
working with city and library officials to sketch the preliminary design. Jowers said more fine-tuning of the librarys interior will
be done as work moves forward.
But we pretty much have the footprint for it and have a
pretty good interior design started, she said.
Along with the planned library, Southaven has other recent
commercial developments to tout. Those include Baptist Memorial
Hospital-DeSotos new 144,000-square-foot, $40 million pediatric center, which
opened in 1999. In addition, Duke Energy Inc. has invested $200 million in a
power-generating plant in the town, and the $32 million DeSoto County Civic
Center opened in 2000.
Rapid growth. To
Davis and other city officials, all the growth is a reflection of how Southaven
has taken a leap forward in recent years. Davis said the new library is being
built in a much sought-after section of town along Main Street.
When we had the option of opening another location of the
library, in fact, we decided to build another and merge the two to have one
top-quality library, Davis said. There really isnt much else we can do on
Main Street. Businesses are staying there and finding out their customers dont
want the heavy traffic associated with Goodman Road.
And growth along Main Street is a far cry from what
residents could have imagined only a few years ago.
You wouldnt have thought at the time you could have projected
this kind of growth, Jowers said. When I moved
here, I thought we were moving to the country. You rode past empty fields,
farming areas, and there was a service station here and there to get to Horn
Lake. Its just unimaginable there has been this much growth.
At the time, nobody would ever have dreamed it.