Land Development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lake development uncertain, reports senator’s spokesman

By Billy Davis

A spokesman for U.S. Senator Roger Wicker said a land swap at Sardis Lake is unresolved since negotiations are ongoing with the property owner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sardis town government is seeking 2,000 acres on the upper lake with plans to develop the property into a resort area.

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Sardis Mayor Rusty Dye has been leading the pursuit of the lake development. So far he has not named the developer who is apparently negotiating with town government.

Sardis already holds a lease on 1,000 acres that includes the Sardis Lake Marina, and the construction of condos, a hotel and conference center, and a golf course would be a second phase of development.

But legislation has yet to be introduced due to ongoing dialogue with the Corps, Wicker communications director Jordan Stoick wrote in a e-mail.

“Because of these continuing discussions, no legislation has been introduced and the path forward remains unclear,” Stoick wrote.

At Dye’s urging, a delegation of Panola County officials visited the U.S. Capitol on June 25 to discuss the marina project with the state’s delegation. 

The mayor was joined on the trip by county supervisors James Birge and Vernice Avant, and Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons.

“It seemed like it wasn’t a done deal yet, but they were getting everything in line,” Birge recalled of discussions regarding the marina.

Birge said the Panola delegation met with Rep. Travis Childers and Sen. Wicker, and visited with the staff of Rep. Bennie Thompson and Sen. Thad Cochran.

Dye had asked supervisors at their June 1 meeting to join him on a hasty trip to the capital.

“They’re hot after it right now,” the mayor said of the state’s D.C. delegation.

Dye’s reason for seeking county involvement was not made clear – the county has not been involved in the lake property – but the mayor has said the economic impact could be an economic boon to the county.

He told supervisors the finished development could bring 900 jobs to the lake community.

After the D.C. trip, Dye and Sardis aldermen met in executive session to discuss the marina as well as a personnel issue.

No action was taken in the meeting, they said.

Attempts to reach Dye Monday were unsuccessful.