County board inches toward decision on pavilion at lake

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A vote by the Warren County Board of Supervisors to consider a pavilion near Messina Landing at Eagle Lake could come next week if opposing groups merge their ideas, supervisors said Monday.

The board has met with lakeside property owners for and against construction of a open-air metal building next to the restroom at the county-owned launch off Mississippi 465. One, Save Historic Eagle Lake, proposed the facility for parties and other social gatherings. Others fear the space would be used for cleaning fish and wild game and become a problem.

During the past week, some supporters who’ve met with individual supervisors have mentioned more picnic tables as a possible compromise. Neither have met before the board at the same time. Supervisors’ tone during an informal session Monday turned against the idea and smaller-scale thoughts about picnic tables, short of a joint presentation from lake residents for and against an all-access pavilion.

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“They need to give us something in writing that we can look at,” Board President Bill Lauderdale said, stopping short of a guarantee it would be on the next formal agenda. “Well, maybe. We’ll see.”

The next official board meeting is 9 a.m. Monday. People may request space on official board agendas via the Chancery Clerk’s Office until noon on Fridays before a meeting.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks, who represents the northwest Warren County community of about 600, remained opposed, based on meetings with both sides.

“They need to come to some sort of conclusion before they make a presentation to the board,” Banks said.

District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon said arguments based on litter from the opposition has him against the building, which would be owned by the county. A lease signed in 1995 with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for the agency to enforce boating laws on the lake also allows for improvements, specifying picnic tables, sidewalks, restrooms and paved ditches. The pact expires in 2015.

Taking a pro-improvement tack, District 1 Supervisor John Arnold pointed out the lack of picnic tables at the boat launch as a negative for its long-term maintenance. Tables are mentioned in the lease as acceptable improvements.

“Like anything today, there’s going to be problems. But, we let the problems keep us from doing improvements,” Arnold said. “I don’t see the big issue if there was a pavilion up there.”

In 2010, the restroom was built on the site with help from a grant administered by MDWFP. Firms are hired out to cut grass at public launches at Eagle Lake and LeTourneau. A third landing, on the Yazoo River off Old Twin Lakes Road, opened in 2011.