Mayor McGee’s 2019 priorities include city hall, infrastructureBy NIKKI ROWELL,
From infrastructure to economic development, Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee and the city of Ridgeland have a full plate now that 2019 is in full swing. McGee has set some lofty goals for the year, including knocking out some major road projects, breaking ground on a new city hall facility, developing a downtown area and building on the city’s commercial success. “As far as infrastructure, I want to see Lake Harbour Drive extension under construction,” McGee said. “That’s a big project. By building that, that will really help the east/west traffic from Highland Colony Parkway all the way out into Rankin County.”
The Lake Harbour Drive extension will include four-laning the road from Highway 51 West to Highland Colony Parkway, along with a multi-use trail.
“We have already issued a contract to build a culvert on the railroad, which has got to be done, but we have out for bids now the Lake Harbour extension,” McGee said. “So, we will be anxiously waiting to see how that comes in as far as the bids are concerned.”
He said that could come later this month, but due to some complications with the widening of I-55, it could be sometime in February before the bids are done.
“I’m anxious to see that happen,” McGee said. “I’m anxious to see Colony Park Boulevard open. There’s a lot of work that’s been done on that but we’re waiting still on the railroad to put in some things that they have to put in.”
Colony Park Boulevard is expected to be complete sometime in February, but McGee said it could be a little bit later.
“The railroad has the equipment there, but they’ve pulled all their crews off to do something for the federal highway,” he said of the possible delay.
McGee said the goal is to have Colony Park Boulevard and Lake Harbour extension open and to give Jackson Street more of a downtown feel.
“We want to get the traffic off of (Jackson Street) and divert it into more of a local street,” he said.
He also hopes to break ground on the site of the new city hall at city center. “I think that could be under construction this year,” McGee said.
“This particular building has so many problems,” McGee said of the current city hall building. “In our master plan, our citizens said they wanted us to build a new city hall. That’s something that we’re looking forward to getting going this year.”
McGee hopes that city hall will be operating out of the new building by early 2020.
“That’s one of the things we will probably be issuing bonds for,” McGee said.
The new year also brings high hopes for McGee for new retail ventures in Ridgeland.
“We want to see Renaissance phase two completed,” McGee said. “It is under construction. I’m looking forward to seeing that open late 2019. Renaissance phase three, which includes Costco, we’re excited about that.”
Phase three is expected to be complete before the end of the year.
“I think you’re going to continue to see a positive situation at Northpark Mall,” McGee said. “Because of all the money that’s spent, I think that will produce more economic development around it.”
“We don’t know what that would be, but obviously that’s a strong positive because Northpark Mall has been an economic driving engine for Madison County and the state of Mississippi for years,” McGee added. “They produce anywhere from $60 to $100 million of sales tax, which is critical. We’re excited to see what’s going on there.”
McGee is also hoping to reach a few personal goals this year.
“Personally, I want to ride 8,000 miles on my bicycle. That’s my personal goal,” McGee said.