Community meeting planned at Eagle Lake

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting the most for their county property taxes and preserving history are the motives for a new Eagle Lake community effort that will kick off with a meeting Saturday night.

If you go

The Save Historic Eagle Lake community meeting will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1010 Eagle Lake Shore Road.

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A group of three lake residents has formed a nonprofit organization called Save Historic Eagle Lake. Debra Landers, Ronnie Wilson and Kim Koppman have invited residents to the first meeting at 7 p.m. at Landers’ home, 1010 Eagle Lake Shore Road.

The group plans to address development as well as preservation in the farming and residential area around the oxbow lake in north Warren County. The three currently serve as officers in the organization.

“This is our first attempt to try to pull together the community of the whole lake,” Koppman said. “There are older and newer sections, but we’re all one community. We hope it will bring people together to form a neighborhood watch, and maybe have some social gatherings. And we want to get people’s opinions on what the lake needs the most.”

Saturday’s agenda includes voting on by-laws, discussing ideas for fund-raising, and asking for additional volunteers to serve as officers and board members.

But the first item on the agenda is working toward getting a permanent sheriff’s deputy for the lake area. The Warren County Sheriff’s Department formerly had a resident deputy for the lake community, but no longer does. Eagle Lake is 30 minutes from Vicksburg and is reached by driving north on U.S. 61 and west on Mississippi 465. Koppman said crime is not a huge issue, she added, but the community has suffered the effects of occasional vandalism, and is growing fast enough that regular law enforcement presence is important.

Based on water meters, Eagle Lake has 585 dwellings. Many are lakeside weekend homes. Koppman and the other officers have been researching taxes paid by the residents, contacting the Warren County Board of Supervisors and looking at county services they get for what they pay. The meeting’s agenda includes time for discussing “what we found out about the taxes of Eagle Lake.”

The group is also interested in “revitalization,” especially of Messina Landing, a state park and boat ramp area, getting permanent restrooms built, and adding park benches, picnic tables and cement trash cans.

“Eagle Lake is a diamond in the rough,” she added. “We’d like to offer residents and visitors a place to come out and picnic by the lake. With a place this beautiful there really ought to be a park where people could come out and enjoy it.”

Save Historic Eagle Lake has raised $1,600 through residents’ donations and is looking for more to meet goals. Koppman said one that is of particular interest to her is writing and publishing a history of the area.

She has already begun the research, enlisting the help of long time local Melba Parker and Vicksburg historian Gordon Cotton, both of whom have given her decades worth of historical records and photographs relating to the original Eagle Bend community before the river changed course, old plantations, sunken riverboats and the schoolhouse.

Koppman, who taught school near New Orleans for more than 20 years, moved to Eagle Lake with her husband, Steve, after Hurricane Katrina. They run a home-based business.

“The face of Eagle Lake has changed a lot with the people that have built here,” Koppman said. “We keep hearing what could be improved upon, so I began to research it and find out. We want to do something about these things instead of just being people who sit and complain about them.”


Contact Pamela Hitchins at