Board approves cross site
By John Howell
Batesville Cross Committee Chairman Kirk Rowsey revealed to members of the city planning commission during their November meeting further details about the plan to erect a 120-tall cross at the corner of House-Carlson and Randy Hendrix drives.
Rowsey is seeking conditional use permit that will allow a Panola County citizen initiative to place the Christian symbol near heavily-traveled Interstate 55. He told commissioners that the height would be 120 feet, the cross arms 64 feet.
“It’s the only one we’ve seen that’s going to have a crown of thorns,” Rowsey said.
Responding to a question from commissioner Dave Billingley, Rowsey said there would be no conflict with AirEvac helicopter landings at its nearby base adjacent to Merit Health Batesville nor would Federal Aviation Administration restrictions apply to the 120-foot tall structure.
Billingsley made the motion to recommend the conditional use permit for approval by aldermen; commissioner Barbara Bruce provided a second and commissioners Melaney Buford, Judy Savage, Vic Wardlaw, Bill Burnett and Chris Townsend and chairman Willie King added their affirmative vote to grant Rowsey’s request by unanimous vote.
A public hearing on the conditional use permit will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, January 3.
Cross Committee spokesperson Carol Anne Lightsey said Tuesday that donated funds have reached almost $163,000 toward an anticipated need of approximately $175,000. She said that additional features like the crown of thorns, benches to be placed at the base of the cross and parking places have been added, along with appropriate lighting to give the structure nighttime visibility.
Lightsey said that she has been pleased with the public response to the committee’s request for donations to build and erect the cross.
“I just don’t need them to stop,” she said, as the donations near the goal. After completion the landmark will incur ongoing expenses including maintenance and electricity for the lighting.
“There will be nothing wasted,” she said. “It’s just like going to the mailbox and having Christmas every day,” she said, when she finds envelopes containing donations.
Donations can be mailed to The CROSS, 107 Quail Run Drive, Batesville, MS 38606.
In other planning commission business, members also gave unanimous approval to Bishop Anthony Rodgers’ site and design proposal for a fellowship hall addition to the Faith In Action ministry building at 125 Van Voris Street.
Rodgers told commissioners that the ministry plans to expand to offer after-school programs and meals for children, Bible school and tutoring.
The new structure will be concrete block similar to an existing buildingat the site. Commissioners approved Rodgers’ proposal by unanimous vote.
Attending in addition to commissioners were city code administrator Pam Comer, administrative assistant Shonnah Weaver, assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell and city code officer Andy Berryhill.