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County Accepts Land for Equine Center



COLUMBUS – At its Sept. 8 meeting, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors discussed land for a planned equestrian center, soil testing at the location of the Concord Community Center and several other items of routine business.

The board approved the donation of some land to be used for the new 4-H equestrian center.

District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham asked that the issue be added to the agenda.

“We’ve been talking about the money that was given to us by the state for the Mississippi State Extension Service, and I’d like to make a motion that we accept the deed, subject to title work and survey, to accept the deed from Jimmy Graham/Grayco and Al Puckett/Brickyard Properties,” he said. “They’re donating this land, it’s right there on the Highway 82 frontage where Jimmy Graham’s office is, it used to be Graham Roofing. That’s roughly 21.7 acres.”

The land will be surveyed, Brigham said. It includes about 13 acres from Puckett and a little over seven acres from Graham. The supervisors unanimously approved moving forward.

It is located west of the river, between Old Highway 82 and Highway 82. It is accessible via Tom Rose Road.

[For more, see my column in this week’s edition. – Ed.]

“Either site would be great,” said MSU Extension Agent Reid Nevins. “The original site they were talking about was west of Paccar, and a lot of it was pretty grown up. It would have taken a good bit of dirt work and dozer work to get it ready to go. This new site is basically a hay field. It’s ready to go.

“It’s going to be really great for us,” he said. “It’s still convenient for people from other counties to get to if they want to use it. It’s not a whole lot further for them to go.”

Nevins said he didn’t know when construction would start.

“The ball is rolling now,” he said. “I imagine it will start soon.”

Nevins said it was too early in the process to tell exactly how large the planned arena would be.

“We’re not that far along in the process yet,” he said. “But it will be real similar to the therapeutic riding center they’ve got in West Point out by Mossy Oak. We’ll be able to use it for horse and livestock shows, rodeos, whatever else we need.”

The extension office will eventually locate out there, he said.

“We are planning on moving out there eventually, but the arena is our number one priority,” he said.

A bond bill signed by Governor Phil Bryant earlier this year gave Lowndes County $1.2 million to put towards a new agricultural education center. Plans call for an outdoor arena and some office space. The facility was originally going to be built on about 30 acres of land west of the Paccar site that was donated by the LINK.

The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors worked with the Extension Service and the local 4-H board to get support for the project. The original request was for $1.5 million, but $1.2 million was actually approved.

The facility will give the Extension Service and 4-H some much-needed space, as the organizations currently have no dedicated meeting space. Instead they have had borrow or rent space from private entities. Officials also hope that the facility, once complete, will bring in people from surrounding counties; both the Clay and Oktibbeha county boards of supervisors wrote letters of support for the project.

District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith asked that the board approve and pay for a soil survey on the future site of the Concord Community Center.

“There needs to be a soil test conducted so that the Health Department can determine whether they can put in a septic tank,” Smith said.

“(The CLRA) is handling the construction,” said District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders. “If that’s part of the construction cost, I would think they would be the one that would need to request it.”

“I was trying to go ahead and get it done,” Smith said.

“Doesn’t the health department do that for free?” Sanders asked.

“There’s a charge,” said District 3 Supervisor John Holliman.

“Is this just on that piece of property?” asked County Attorney Tim Hudson. “Isn’t there another piece of property?”
“The person who donated the property said they’d donate more if that’s not enough land,” Smith said. “They’ve got about an acre of an acre and a half right now.”

“Do we also need to do a study to make sure there are no wetlands on this property?” Sanders asked.

“I’m not familiar with the property,” said County Engineer Robert Calvert. “I think there is a ditch on the property. I’d probably take a look at a it. You can’t go in and disturb wetlands, but if there are no wetlands you can do in without a permit. We’d just have to look at it.”

The board unanimously authorized paying the fee to get the health department to go in and look at the property.

District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks asked the board to try to get the city to wash the road and the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

“There’s a tree directly in front of my office,” he said. “I know you’ve seen all the birds and the bird feces out there. People are complaining. Now the people from (E911) have to walk around there and they’re tracking it into their office. [The E911 employees are going through the area due to the construction on the new E911 facility. -Ed.] I’d like for us to formally send a letter to the mayor and council and ask them what options they have, but at the same time to ask them to wash that street.”

Brooks’ motion was unanimously approved.

Tax Assessor Greg Andrews asked the board to issue a tax refund to Ronald B. West.

“I have a request for a refund in the amount of $1,655,” he said. “That’s due to an over-assessment on burned property. The structure burned but we’ve kept it on the tax rolls. We’ve taken it off, but he has paid those taxes.”

West lives in District 3.

The request was unanimously approved.

Golden Triangle Planning and Development District District Planner George Crawford asked the board to approve a contract extension for work being done at Mississippi Steel Processing. The work, which is being funded through a Community Development Block Grant, will add a concrete loading pad.

“The pad was a big deal for them when we started the project,” he said. “There was a little work done on the pad, but we’re going back and adding that in. The contract we have with Phillips Contracting ran out on Sept. 4, so we have an open contract with them now.”

“How much of an extension do you need?” Sanders asked.

“I asked for March 31, but I doubt they’ll give us that much,” Crawford said. “I think they’ll probably give us three months.”

The project cost is about $157,253, he said.

In other action, the board set the public hearing on the FY16 budget for 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 in the board room.


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