According to the latest information, DeSoto County remained one of the Mississippi counties with the lowest unemployment rates among the 82 counties in the Magnolia State. The Mississippi Department of Employment Services (DES) last week came out with its April jobless figure for the state of 4.9 percent unemployed for the month. Tuesday afternoon, the DES released its county-by-county numbers for each Mississippi county. DeSoto County is reported to have a 3.9 percent jobless rate during April, according to the DES report. That puts the county tied for fifth-lowest among counties, joining Lafayette, Lee, Pontotoc and Madison. Rankin County, at 3.4 percent, has the lowest unemployment figure in Mississippi. Lamar and Union (3.6) and Scott (3.8) are ahead of DeSoto and the other four counties to complete the top five rankings. Conversely, Jefferson County, in southwest Mississippi along the Mississippi River, is at the bottom with 10.9 percent of its workforce without a job. Adjoining counties to DeSoto, Tunica (4.9), Tate and Marshall (4.8), are all reporting a figure above 4.5 percent. The April report showed 3,440 people in the county’s labor force 88,480 were without work in April. The rate is the same as March, but it is four-tenths of a percent above the 3.5 percent total for April of 2018. In Mississippi, the 4.9 percent jobless figure means the state has been below five percent for 19 straight months, but was up one-tenth of a percent from the April figure last year. Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.
DeSoto County has consistently ranked high in most rankings as far as quality of life, health and education are concerned and now the state's fastest-growing county can add another feather in its cap. According to DeSoto County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard, DeSoto County ranks third in the state for one of the top "paycheck friendliest counties in the United States." Lynchard said the designation means that in addition to an overall high quality of life, residents of DeSoto County can get the best "bang for their buck" due to income, purchasing power and the county's relatively low unemployment rate. "Your dollars stretch," Lynchard said of the study which was conducted by SmartAsset.com. According to the criteria of the study, the data firm performed an analysis which included "semi-monthly paychecks of residents, relative purchasing power, unemployment rate and income growth." DeSoto County ranked third behind Madison and Rankin counties in south central Mississippi.
A massive 228-acre, mixed-use development will bring a town square comparable to Collierville and Oxford, Miss., to Southaven. Silo Square, on farmland between Getwell and Tchulahoma roads south of Goodman, calls for a mixture of residential, commercial and public uses built around a central Main Street boulevard lined with two- and three-story buildings. "The square we're going to build will very much resemble an old town square, like the Collierville square or the Oxford square," Brian Hill of Lifestyle Communities LLC of Hernando told Southaven aldermen earlier this week. A silo currently standing on the property, across Getwell from Snowden Grove Park, will be retained and serve as a signature feature of the development. Hill said plans also call for construction of a barn on a portion of the property that will house a farmer's market. Hill hopes to start work soon on the roughly $200 million project, and some aspects could be completed by year's end. Aldermen unanimously approved the development, which also had the support of the city's Planning Commission. Mayor Darren Musselwhite and aldermen used words like "pumped" and "excited" to express their support before voting on the development, which drew no negative comments from the public. Planning Director Whitney Choat described a project that would bring rooftop restaurants, community spaces and a variety of housing sizes and types to a growing area of the city. "There's a lot of energy around this part of Southaven," Hill said. The breakdown in the plan submitted by developers calls for about 64 acres of common space consisting of wooded areas, lakes, trail systems and parks. "This significant amount of green space represents nearly 28% of the gross property acreage, and will contribute immensely to the character and identity of the neighborhood," the plan states. Another 120 acres will be devoted to residential development designed to appeal to a range of ages and family sizes. The single-family residential area will include lots of 6,000 to 15,000 square feet. Another 128 loft units will provide a "highly desired" residential option not currently available in the market, according to the plan. The 45-acre mixed use development making up the town square area is described as the signature piece of the project. Trees and multi-story buildings will form a square around a central space that will have a clock or bell tower in the middle. "The ground floor of the multi-story buildings will be occupied by retail, restaurant and offices users, and residential lofts with balconies overlooking the street will fill the majority of the upper floors," the plan states. "Crosswalks, lush landscaping, classic building architecture, courtyards, plazas and outdoor dining areas will bring life and activity to the streetscape on the main street boulevard and set the tone for the rest of the development." Hotels, office buildings, the farmer's market and possibly a grocery store will round out the project. Access to the development will come from both the Getwell and Tchulahoma sides, and music from concerts at BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove will waft across Getwell to rooftop restaurant patrons. "What I love is the history of this farm," Hill said, "and what we'll be able to preserve."
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