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Adams County sees revenue from Belwood Country Club trees

NATCHEZ — Adams County has started receiving revenue from the clearing of trees on the former Belwood Country Club property.

The county has agreed to build a levee to protect the low-lying property from future flooding as part of a larger economic recruitment package to attract alternative fuels company KiOR to the area, and the trees on the Belwood site had to be harvested and removed for the building of the levee.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the removal of the trees is approximately two-thirds complete, and Natchez Inc. has started receiving checks for the lumber that could be used commercially.

So far, that’s come to approximately $13,000, he said.

“The county has charged Natchez Inc. with managing, marketing and operations of all of the county-owned properties, but the land is still their properties,” Russ said.

“We are receiving those funds, and once it is all over we will direct (the funds) back to the county all in one check.”

Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus has previously suggested using the money generated from the tree harvest to plant trees — including ornamental trees — in other parts of the county. The board of supervisors has not made an official determination of how the money will be used.

In addition to the county’s harvesting of trees in the area of the future levee, KiOR has also been clearing parts of the Belwood property, which a company spokesperson said was part of a larger due diligence obligation.

The county has advertised its intention to take out a no more than $7.5 million to build the levee on the Belwood property, though the supervisors have applied for a $3 million loan from the Mississippi Development Authority that they have said will have a lower interest rate than a bond normally would.

Previous construction estimates have placed the cost of the levee project at approximately $5.1 million.

Russ said the next step in the levee project will be removal of a power line that is no longer in use and the relocation of a sewer line. Advertisement for bids for the relocation of the sewer line should start next week, he said.