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City leaders take next step toward new growth

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Jan. 5, 2001
Meridian city leaders took the next step Friday night in their quest for new growth when the planning commission voted to rezone two pieces of property.
First, they recommended rezoning 1,314 acres of city property around Lakeview Golf Course and Long Creek Reservoir to allow construction of a $35 million retirement community.
Then, they recommended rezoning the former Malone Ranch property from commercial to heavy industrial. The property is the site of the Lauderdale County industrial park.
Both actions are expected to head to the city council for consideration later this month. Although the council meets Tuesday, members aren't expected to consider the zoning issues.
Cooper Land Development Inc. of Arkansas plans to build a retirement community on the 1,314 acres. The company plans to pay the city $4.2 million over 25 years as part of a lease-purchase arrangement for the land.
Plans call for building 3,000 homes and making Lakeview Golf Course private. Cooper Land then plans to build the city a new public golf course on land off Highway 45 near Bonita Lakes.
Construction on the retirement community is expected to begin late this year.
The Lauderdale County industrial park is on 630 acres of land off Interstate 20/59 and U.S. 45. Business and industry could locate there after the property has been further developed.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith, other city leaders and some county officials attended the planning commission meeting.
Wade Jones, president of the East Mississippi Business Development Corp. Lauderdale County's economic development agency agreed with the mayor.