Aldermen still working on agreement with Lane Company

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

After a work session Tuesday, the board of aldermen is getting closer to an agreement with Lane Company, board attorney Everett Sanders said.

“I think we made a lot of progress today,” Sanders said after an executive session, where he said he and the board members discussed details of the Lane contract.

Aldermen referred questions to Sanders after Tuesday’s meeting.

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In December, the board of aldermen voted to lease land under Roth Hill to the development company. Lane’s proposal suggested a casino riverboat and a riverfront development with shops and recreation area.

Some of the details of that lease are taking a little ironing out, Sanders said Tuesday.

“There are one or two things holding us up related to the economic side of it as opposed to the legal side,” he said.

Sanders said he had been in contact with Lane representatives. He said the board wanted to make sure the contract matched Lane’s original proposal to the city, including costs and benefits.

The aldermen wanted both Lane and the city to get as much out of the deal as possible, he said. Because of the sensitivity of the contract negotiations, he wouldn’t elaborate, he said.

The meeting with the aldermen was productive, he said. They were well on their way to finalizing the contract, he said.

“They’ve given me a green light on certain items,” he said. “Now, I have to get back with Lane and discuss them. Hopefully in the very near future we will have a document the board can adopt, something everybody will be happy with.”

The Mississippi Gaming Commission granted Lane approval in February to start planning the development. The company will need further approvals as the project progresses.

City and Lane officials have recently said the lease contract involved negotiating more than just price, land and length of time, but would not give specifics.