Coming soon? County leaders discuss potential development in Poplarville

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 21, 2017

A sign was erected on West North Street near Highway 11 in Poplarville earlier this week, announcing a new full service supermarket and “fuel center,” however, county leaders say the details have yet to be finalized.
The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors currently owns the land, which is the former site of the Movie Star factory that closed in 2011 and the building later demolished.
Supervisors and the Poplarville Board of Aldermen discussed the development of the property within several closed meetings in recent months.
During Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Vice President Hudson Holliday called the erection of the sign premature.
“It embarrassed us when people passing by and saw there’s a sign up and they know more than us as supervisors,” Holliday said.
Tommy Breland, a local real estate developer working on the project, said he agreed the sign was premature, noting that contracts have not been signed yet.
“It would be appropriate for them to put up some money before they put up the sign,” District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry said at the meeting.
Alderman Byron Wells said the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Supervisors are working with the unnamed independent investors to determine if tax exemptions for the development will be granted.
Breland said at the last Board of Supervisors meeting that another party involved in the development put up the sign.
“The city has no say-so over the property,” Wells said, though they would work with the developers to provide adequate water, sewer and other utilities.
Wells also said an agreement has not been worked out, but one company has conducted a survey of the property and thrown its name in the hat.
Ramey’s Marketplace expressed interest in leasing the property, once constructed, creating a full service supermarket, deli and pharmacy, Wells said, though other companies have also expressed interest in the project.
However, Wells said the top priority of the city is to hire local residents to construct the facility. He added that a tax exemption would not be granted if the company does not agree to those terms.
According to Wells, 75 or more jobs have been promised, and if that promise is not delivered, the city could choose not to offer the tax exemption.
“They feel good about the project, and we feel good about it,” Wells said.
However, District I Supervisor Donald Hart said, “we’ve had problems in the past where stuff got out and it ruined a deal.”
“Nothing will ruin a deal faster,” Breland said, adding again that the contracts aren’t signed yet.
“If it doesn’t go, everybody is going to think we stopped it,” Holliday said.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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