Southaven Approves New “Penny For Your Parks” Plan

(Southaven, MS) A new plan to spend Southaven’s “Penny For Your Parks” tax is under fire after the Board of Alderman voted to use the hotel and restaurant tax money for tennis court and baseball stadium improvements.

Glenn Stroupe said this isn’t what he voted for. He will tell you he was a big fan of the “Penny for Your Parks,” but never thought the money would go to baseball and tennis.

“It’s okay to have that, but I feel like they should put the money to benefit all the citizens,” said Stroupe.

For the past couple years, Southaven collected a one-percent sales tax at restaurants and hotels. The plan was to use the money to upgrade parks and build new amenities like a splash pad and senior citizen center.

Tuesday night, city leaders approved a new plan.

Here’s what they’re aiming for: In the next three years, they will use the tax money to improve stadium seating, restrooms, tennis courts and build an enclosure for an amphitheater. All at Snowden Grove Park.

They’ll also build new batting cages and an office at Greenbrook Softball Complex.

In six years, they’ll look into a skate and splash park at Snowden Grove.

In the long-term, they’ll look into a senior citizen activity center.

“I would think once the citizens voted for something for a particular purpose that six or seven people shouldn’t divert that money to wherever they want it to go,” said Stroupe.

Mayor Darren Musselwhite said the new plan is more realistic based on the money they collected on the tax, about $800,000 a year.

He said the city had to make adjustments since it didn’t reach it’s goal, the state added a tax repeal date after citizens voted on it, and right now, the state won’t let them borrow money for any of the projects.

Musselwhite said the new plan will also bring more tourism revenue into the city.

He expects work to start in 2015.