Dollar General may build next to Tiger Drive

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The City of Batesville Planning Commission on Monday approved a request to rezone the property located on the north side of the Hwy. 51N and Tiger Drive intersection from residential to commercial. City officials say the Dollar General corporation wants to build a retail store at the location.

Larry Montgomery and Byron Houston made the application for the Planning Commission to recommend that 3.8 acres of the property be rezoned. That area will include all of the frontage property on Hwy. 51N.

Entrances and exits for a Dollar General store would ostensibly be on the highway, and not on Tiger Drive, which is congested with school traffic much of the year. A new store would be less than 50 yards from the parking lot of Dunlap Stadium where the SP Tigers play their home football and soccer games, and hold track and field events.

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South Panola schools have used the property for a variety of purposes over the years, including soccer practice and cross country training. Until the Covid pandemic, the property was the site of a large tailgating event the day of the South Panola Tigers’ homecoming football game each year.

Thousands of alumni would gather by graduating class year, each with decorated tents and tables of grilled foods, drinks, and desserts.

School district officials had discussed purchasing the property at different times over the years, but state law prohibits a district from paying more than the average of two appraisals for property. The Hwy. 51N and Tiger Dr. lot sold for almost three times the average appraisal.

The city’s Board of Aldermen will have final say about the proposed rezoning, and will hold a public hearing before taking a vote next month, either accepting or rejecting the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

Dollar General has expanded into Batesville and Panola County aggressively in the last 24 months after having two or three stores here for several years.

A Dollar General at the proposed location is far from a reality. Still ahead for any development of that piece of property is the rezoning vote, approval of building plans, and acceptance of site and design renderings.

Because of the proximity to the heavily traveled Hwy. 51, any construction on the site will also require extensive study and final approval by engineers from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Panola County now has nine Dollar Generals. A store at the 51/Tiger Dr. location would be the second inside the city limits and the tenth total.