Vidalia should not support Square on Carter project

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 21, 2016

I share the views of The Natchez Democrat publisher regarding the Carter Street Square “project” in Vidalia.

At the start of this “project” it was proposed to buy two adjacent parcels of property, approximately the same size parcels, about 65 acres total. One parcel owned by city engineer Bryant Hammett has U.S. 84 frontage and would be worth more than the other parcel. Mayor Copeland was a part owner of the parcel with highway frontage.

I do not claim to be a land value expert, but I was amazed at the price that was asked of the town to purchase the property. The residents of Vidalia would be the ones who would be in debt for the purchase.

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I am using figures The Natchez Democrat furnished. The highway frontage parcel of about 32 acres had a price of $3. 775 million (nearly $118,000 per acre). Is there any property in Concordia Parish worth that much per acre?

The Louisiana Secretary of State said that the town has no business in real estate speculating. There were no developers involved, and there were no contracts for tenants. After the town goes in debt for $4,516,000 and no tenants show up to provide income, the town taxpayers hold the bag for the debt.

Later land appraisals were done. The high appraisal was for $3.241 million which would be 28 percent less than the asking price. The low appraisal was $2. 616 million which would be 42 percent less than the asking price.

Wow, someone would make some inflated profit. The FBI person that investigated this “project” stated that no prosecutable criminal violations were found. If I were an investigator, and found no violations, I would say that “I found no criminal violations.”

Why was the word prosecutable used? If I were a Vidalia voter, I would not vote for the present mayor, or any aldermen that went along with this “project,” simply because they attempted to put the taxpayers at high risk.


Robert Blair