June 17, 2009
It is disappointing, though not surprising that the Lowndes Supervisors are charging ahead with the Burns Bottom site for a soccer complex. At their Monday meeting, the supervisors announced plans to begin acquiring options to purchase land for that purpose. Joe Higgins of the Link has been activated for the task.
Never mind that the area floods regularly (four times in the past six months).
Never mind that development of the site will require extensive wetlands. mitigation.
Never mind that the siting of sports fields adjacent to a historic downtown inhibits chances of further growth in that direction and is a spectacularly bad example of city planning.
Never mind that there is a Main Street Mississippi planning charrette scheduled for September that would provide valuable insight and guidance for public land use such as this.
What arrogance. While Monday''s actions could be seen as preliminary, to our knowledge, no final decision, by the city or the county, has been made on the location. Moving toward acquiring the land skews that decision in favor of Burns Bottom.
Despite the actions of our supervisors Monday, we urge all of our city and county leaders to give due and fair considerations to all the sites presented, talk to their constituents, and make a reasoned decision.
No one questions the need for a soccer complex for the children of Lowndes County. In fact, we as a community have been affirming this need for longer than we can remember.
All of a sudden, it has to be done now.
Originally 11 sites were submitted for consideration. While some of the land was prohibitively expensive, we''ve not sure exactly how or why these 71 acres, many of which are low-lying wetlands, made the cut.
Certain elected officials have supported this choice from the get-to. Could that be it? Could this be a case of the tail wagging the dog? Surely not.
The publisher of this paper has been criticized for not being supportive, for using scare tactics in a past column. But it is the newspaper''s responsibility to point out foolishness such as this. Soccer fields in the flood plain. Soccer fields a stone''s throw from a historic downtown. Seems like that''s all one would have to say.
Many have expressed disappointment, even disbelief at the choice. Count us among that group.
But not our supervisors. Damn the torpedoes and public opinion, full speed ahead.