Supes agree to match grant for Riverwalk connector

March 15, 2014 10:32:56 PM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


Lowndes County supervisors voted Friday to match $25,000 to an additional $100,000 from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks for additional walking trails connecting the Columbus Soccer Complex to the Riverwalk. 


The county's match can include in-kind services, which would work to install as much as possible of three planned sidewalk sections spanning 1,500 feet from Coretta Street to the north soccer fields. Because the soccer complex is part of an inter-local agreement between the county and city of Columbus, the city will be required to give half the county of what it agreed to match. 


This grant is separate from one awarded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation last year that provided more than $500,000 to build sidewalks extending the Riverwalk near the bridges on Moore's Creek and under the Highway 82 bypass. 


A timeline for completion of all the sidewalk connections has not been finalized. 


Remaining RDA funds drawn out 


Supervisors also approved a request from Golden Triangle Development LINK Vice President Brenda Lathan to withdraw the remaining funds in the county's $13 million loan from the Rural Development Authority.  


In November, the county board approved a $5,504,391 land purchase using funds from the loan executed in 2011 of three property tracts at the GTR Global Industrial Aerospace Park. Combined, those purchases gain about 700 acres in Lowndes County for industrial use. 


"We have a balance of $49,387 and the purchase of this property, which is south of the water tank on Charleigh Ford Drive, is contingent upon the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority agreeing to pay the remaining balance on the purchase of the land," Lathan said. 


The LINK has not specified the remaining balance amount for LCIDA to pay. 




Port Authority to get paid 


In 2010, the city, county agreed to pay $25,000 each to the Columbus-Lowndes Port Authority during negotiations to bring KiOR to the port. This was to offset the cost of the 30 acres the port provided for the renewable fuels manufacturer and allow the authority to purchase more land once KiOR began paying its fees in lieu of property taxes. Port authority director John Hardy said last month was the first installment of the company's in-lieu payments. Supervisors executed the payment provision from 2010 Friday. The county and city will pay the $25,000 each year for 10 years to the port authority. 


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.