Thursday, March 5, 2009
Board learns about greenways
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors heard a pitch from Larry Jarrett, a consultant for DeSoto County, about participation in the North Mississippi Land Trust and Greenways Project.
It is a new economic development tool that is sprouting new roots and shoots and could soon become a regional project with the Coldwater River Watershed as a major attraction.
Jarrett said properties, or rights-of-way, are typically donated by developers or landowners and the space is maintained by the land trust and put to use for conservation and wildlife purposes. Hunting, canoeing and fishing are an attractive part of the projects from a regional standpoint, he said.
Andy Callicutt, Holly Springs businessman, donated 50 acres to the land trust last year, the second gift to the trust since the idea became a reality. The land trust will accept direct land donations or conservation easements and works with major land developers and landowners to get easements to put in greenspace bordering developments, Jarrett said.
If the Coldwater River watershed passing through Marshall County and the Duck Pond is incorporated into such a development extending to Arkabutla Lake in DeSoto County, the greenspace could become a powerful attraction for corporations and businesses looking to relocate to the area, Jarrett said. The river could be used for canoe trips and kayaking or the river could be designated as a scenic river. Such proposed uses could attract federal and state grant monies to build launch ramps and to maintain the waterways.
Jarrett said scenic river designation would require state legislation and would make the Coldwater River a potential marketing tool.
He said none of the proposed ideas for the Coldwater River or the land trust would affect or change I-269 plans. Some wetland mitigation that may result from I-269 development could be made available through the land trust as credits and would target landowners who want to participate in the program within the Coldwater River basin, Jarrett said.
The proposed Coldwater River project would not affect Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park, he said.
The public would be able to hunt, fish or to enjoy recreation on the navigable rivers and creeks, he said, with landowners perhaps maintaining some control over the land they donate. The land trust will pay taxes to the counties and could lease some of the lands or make the lands accessible to the public with permission.
Greenway committees in Collierville, Germantown and DeSoto County are interested in connecting together to share common interests and goals, he said.
Supervisor Eddie Dixon and Bill Mobley, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, both expressed interest in the greenways project, the wetland mitigation bank and the Coldwater River Watershed project.
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