Supervisors debate recreation deal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NATCHEZ — A proposed 50-acre land donation for recreation sounds good, but the stipulations the donors put on it has the Adams County Board of Supervisors questioning if it should be accepted.

President Henry Watts said at the Monday board of supervisors’ meeting that he received a formal letter proposing the donation Friday.

Local businessmen Glen Green and Ricky Edgin have offered to donate 50 acres of land for a proposed Natchez-Adams County joint recreation complex, with the option of selling another 50 acres at a price of $5,000 an acre for the complex.

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A second letter proposing a land donation in return for the construction of a state-aid road through the area accompanied the recreation land-donation proposal.

And the land donation for the road makes sense, Supervisor Mike Lazarus said.

“You’ve got to build a road out to the complex anyway,” he said.

The land donated for the road meets the criteria for a state aid road, including that it will open up the area in question for development, County Engineer Jim Marlow said.

No one has agreed to accept the land yet, though, and the donation includes a stipulation that the recreation project be finished within two years of the donation, Watts said.

Watts and Lazarus disagreed about whether or not Lazarus — who had previously known about the unofficial proposal — had told Watts about the stipulation.

“To represent that this is just a gift and don’t turn it down, the board needs to discuss this,” Watts said.

It is premature to make any kind of judgment, Lazarus said.

“If anybody wants to donate 50 acres for recreation, we will sure look into it,” he said.

The problem with the two-year stipulation is that building right now is not going to be an option, Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter said.

“We can’t build anything right now because we can’t go up on taxes,” he said.

Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell agreed.

“Where are you going to get $10 million in two years?” he asked.

Likewise, Supervisor Darryl Grennell said the recreation complex is a joint project.

“Both (the supervisors and the Natchez board of aldermen) are going to have to be in agreement about this, so it’s going to be a long time (before anything is done),” Grennell said.

The board took no formal action regarding the letter, but Lazarus proposed having the donors appear before the board to discuss what they want to do.