Sardis working to developing Lake

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

By Myra Bean

The Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen heard from the Waggoner Group about the development of land the city leases from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sardis Lake at a meeting last week.

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Town officials have been working to see how to best develop 1,054 acres of land on the lake. Emad Al-Turk of Waggoner said since it has been over 10 years since the last study was done, an updated study is needed.  The board decided to go with a three-year plan development plan.

The development plan will include preliminary site plan updates, market and economic updates, market assessments, economic impact/feasibility/incentives, environmental clearances and guidelines for selecting a master developer.

The plan will cost the city nothing. USDA funding will pay $500,000.A two-year plan would have cost $170,000 aldermen were told.

The delay for the project has to do with the city only having a 25-year lease from the Corps of Engineers. Al-Turk said no one will invest close to $1 billion dollars for only 25 years of guarantee. They need a 99-year guarantee.

“They will transform the economy of the region so they need that assurance,” Al-Turk said.

The development will likely include hotel, water park, homes and cabins, among other structures.

Panola Partnership

Panola Partnership Executive Director Joe Azar appeared before the board to ask for its continued support.

He updated the board on the concourse that will be ready by the Fall of 2021 for workforce training that will accommodate 85 students. He announced an ASPIRE program will be held Thursday, Sept. 12 at Batesville Civic Center for all seniors in Panola County.

In the budget meeting Wednesday, Aug. 20, the board voted to continue its $6,000 per year payment to the Panola Partnership. However, board members were disappointed Azar did not offer a voting seat to a Town of Sardis representative.