COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Kevin Morris and his family live on Columbus’ island. He remembers when it was the city’s hotspot.
“They used to pass through here from Starkville, from Artesia, all the rural areas, back out towards that way. There used to be gas stations here, car lots, furniture businesses. Used to be an ice cream parlor down the road. It was just busy. If you didn’t come down the road, you didn’t get to Columbus,” said Morris.
City and county leaders want to breathe new life into the island. They met Thursday morning to discuss what attractions could be built here.
” The county owns some property there and you know, the thought of some kind of small entertainment area we recognize the need for a public hearing to bring some other people to the table. And so there’s a genuine interest in trying to move forward with some ideas,” said Lowndes County Supervisor LeRoy Brooks.
Years ago, the island was a popular place to hang out. But after the flood of 1979, many businesses left. Another big concern if they redevelop the area is traffic. Right now, there’s only one way in and out.
“As you look at developing the island, you’re going to see an increase in motor traffic and so with that you’re going to have a greater need to have more highways that can accommodate. That’s going to be the first thing. With it being so close to the river, if there’s any flooding going on where you can and cannot develop that and then from there if all those things work out , we can really start the development process, said Christina Berry, City Planner for Columbus.
Officials floated around several ideas, but nothing is set in stone. They plan on holding another meeting within the next two weeks. Kevin likes the idea of the island becoming a family destination. He hopes it will help revive the area.
“It’s beautiful out here. It’s a part city and rural together. So if they put a family attraction or water park or something out here you’ve got all the water you need,” said Morris.
Officials say after their next meeting, leaders will make plans to h0ld a public meeting. If you have any ideas on what you like to see on the island, contact LeRoy Brooks at (662) 329-5871 or email him at email@example.com