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Video: School Board Wants To Develop Lee Middle School Into Business Area

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- School board leaders are one step closer to deciding what the future holds for the vacant Lee Middle School Property.

“Our goal at the school board is to develop the property to be able to get it back on the tax rolls and to be able, for the immediate future and long-term, generate income for the school district,” said Columbus School Board President Jason Spears.

The property has been vacant since 2011. Columbus School District currently manages the lot. Next month, the board will hold two open houses for developers to tour the facility and offer proposals.

“One of the major things we’re trying to do is reach out to other organizations such as The LINK and other individuals in the community to help gather ideas so that they can give us a path to follow in order to achieve those goals,” said Spears.

Brenda Lathan, Vice-President of the Golden Triangle Development Link, believes the property provides a window of opportunity for businesses to thrive.

“They could do a multi-tenant use, which could entail anything from housing to retail to offices, restaurants, boutiques, anything like that. I think a multi-use tenant would be better than anything I can think of,” said Lathan.

The old football field nearby can also attract a diverse group of events to the lot.

“I was thinking about the green space there. I think that’s something the park and recreation might be able to incorporate. We can also do arts and things like that so there are a number of uses available for space,” said Lathan.

Spears wants the new owners of the property to generate revenue that will boost not only the district, but also revitalize the community.

“We feel that not only are we trying to raise student achievement but student achievement comes at a cost not only in the classroom but other parts of the district and so by us trying to be good stewardess of maximizing utilization of these properties and generating income then that of course allows us to be able to gather more income to those in,” said Spears.

The dates for the open houses are Saturday, September 7th from 9 am to noon and Thursday September 12th from 4 pm to 7 pm. The school district management team soon provide sign up sheets for people interested in attending.