Land donation in works

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 28, 2009

NATCHEZ — The city and county may receive a 50-acre land donation to potentially use for recreation development, Mayor Jake Middleton said.

In addition, 50 more acres could be sold at a discounted price of $5,000 per acre, Supervisor Mike Lazarus said.

“That’s a dang good price,” Middleton said.

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Lazarus said city and county officials have been discussing the donated and discounted land with local businessmen and developers Glen Green and Ricky Edgin for several months.

The land in discussion is directly adjacent to county land that is currently in the annexation process.

Green and Edgin are working to develop 2 square miles of land on U.S. 61 South near Trinity Episcopal Day School into a mixed commercial and residential area.

Green said the donation of land for recreation has nothing to do with being annexed into the city.

“They are totally separate things — no relation,” he said.

Middleton, Lazarus and Green said the discussion of procuring the land is in preliminary stages, and it’s something that needs to be discussed with both city and county boards.

Green said he is currently drafting a letter to both the board of aldermen and board of supervisors detailing the possible transaction.

“I’d like to get the letter together and get it out to them so they see it in writing,” he said.

Green said he would like to get it to the boards as early as next week.

It’s still up in there air as to what would go on the land, or even if the city and county will purchase all of the other 50 acres being offered, Middleton and Lazarus said.

“Eighty acres will probably take care of what we want to do,” Middleton said.

He said he would like to use the land to develop two cloverleaf baseball fields and add soccer fields and walking trails.

“(We would) keep golf and tennis at Duncan Park, add maybe 12 tennis courts to what we have now,” Middleton said.

He said he would also like to build a pool.

Currently, there are no plans for an indoor recreation complex.

Including land costs, Middleton said the entire project would cost between $6 and $7 million.

Middleton and Lazarus said the project is a joint venture between the county and city, and plans would have to be hammered out by each board.

“We just have to take things one step at a time,” Middleton said. “If we can work this deal out, that next step will be big. Then we can get together with the boards and start talking about how we’re going to fund it.”

The city and county recreation committee has been meeting for several months but have yet to announce any recreation plans until now.