Jail deal moves closer; truck stop still on hold

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

Progress is being made on the purchase of the land for a new Warren County jail.

County attorney Blake Teller told the Warren County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting Monday, the 47 acres on U.S. Highway 80 could be sold to the county within days.

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“As you may recall, there’s an estate involved and the estate is actually the owner of the property,” Teller said. “Within that estate, one of the heirs passed away after the original owner did so we had a second estate involved. As I understand it from the attorney for the estate that owns the property, everybody is on board and all the heirs have signed off for the contract to go forward and they’ve also signed off on the estate proceedings in order for the contract to be approved by two chancery court judges overseeing the two estates I just mentioned. So, we’re at the point now where once we get those judges to sign the orders approving the sale, we can go forward, which I expect to happen within days.”

Teller said at that point, a closing date will be set.

In June, the supervisors voted unanimously to purchase 47 acres on U.S. 80 where the former Pinewood Motel was located.

The county agreed to buy the property for $400,000, which is $29,000 more than the appraised value.

The 47-acre site, which has not been a popular choice with some residents in the area, was targeted as a potential jail location once it became clear the first choice location at the Ceres Industrial Complex was not favorable to local and state economic development and city officials.

In another matter, Pablo Diaz, president and CEO of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership, gave the supervisors an update on the truck stop being developed at Ceres Industrial Complex.

Diaz told the board the developers received a 30-day extension after the 150 days passed for them to “do their due diligence.” As a result, the developer approved an extra payment of $12,000 on the contract with the county to purchase 20 acres of land at the industrial site.

The hold up on construction apparently is a traffic study the developers are working on with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

“We are, unfortunately, exactly where we were last time in terms of expecting MDOT to finish their review of the traffic study,” Diaz said. “Hopefully, when they’re done with the traffic study, they can proceed.”

In February, the supervisors approved the potential sale of land at the industrial park for the creation of a Love’s Travel Stop.

Diaz said at the time it was a $10 million-plus investment and potentially create up to 50 new jobs and include a restaurant.

There are currently 14 Love’s Travel Stops in Mississippi and more than 450 in 41 states.