LAMAR COUNTY and JASPER COUNTY — The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) recently hosted a lake development tour in Lamar and Jasper Counties. The event, sponsored by MDA’s Asset Development Division, highlighted the potential for lake-centered development in the state.
Roughly 25 developers, engineers, landscape architects and economic development professionals participated in the event and experienced firsthand the economic benefits of lake developments.
Featured lake developments included Canebrake and Big Bay in Lamar County and Lake Eddins in Jasper County. The event also included a special luncheon presentation from James I. Palmer, who is currently with the law firm of Butler Snow. Palmer previously served as the regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region Four in Atlanta and executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
In addition to providing recreational activities, such as boating and fishing, lake development benefits communities in the form of ad valorem taxes accrued from real estate built around lakes. These revenues contribute long-term social benefits by funding schools and local government services. Lake-centered development may offer one of the best opportunities for economic development for some of the state’s rural counties. A successful lake development would also result in an increase in related economic activity that comes with a greater number of people doing business in and becoming consumers of the local economy.