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Sunday, Jan. 27, 2002

By Staff
Cooper project a great accomplishment' for Lauderdale County
To the editor:
Please allow me the opportunity to express my feelings on the proposed Cooper Development project at the Bonita properties.
Bonita is a wonderful asset to Meridian and Lauderdale County. Many areas in Mississippi and surrounding states would love to have a park such as this to call their own. I have been reminded over the last two years, while serving on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, that we have many great things to enjoy here locally that we tend to take for granted.
While we enjoy our area and love to call it home, we may be surprised to learn that others see the same thing. I take pride in the fact that Cooper has chosen Lauderdale County as the place to establish their first community in our state. Yes, it will bring some change, but is that not the case with all growth?
One of our goals in Lauderdale County is to bring economic development opportunities our way. In fact, the question I am asked most by the public is, what are you doing to bring in better paying jobs. I have learned that Cooper is a company that is respected nationwide for its developments. No, the Cooper development itself will not bring in industry, but it will push Meridian and Lauderdale County into another level of competition when it comes to economic development.
I am convinced that this is a great accomplishment for Lauderdale County. The next step is for us to get behind the project and show the prospects, as Cooper brings them in, all the great things we have to offer.
Craig Hitt
President
Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors
Opportunity is knocking'
To the editor:
I am now seeing it again with the Cooper project. These people have been successful. They have six villages with three still in the construction phase and one other proposal in Meridian.
What could Meridian lose here: Maybe it is a Hot Springs Village, a village of 31,784 property owners; maybe it is a Glad Springs Village; maybe it is a Tellico Village with 5,800 property owners. Take your pick.
Ask yourself this question: Do you really want YOUR community to grow? Do you really want your community to be prosperous? If you answered yes, then back the Cooper development. It could just be the future of our community.
Tal Robinson
Meridian
Whole community will profit from Cooper project
To the editor:
The more Meridian tries to change, the more some in Meridian resist, even though it's a step in the right direction. Meridian has a history of would-be saviors and superior-intellect individuals that feel they must come to the rescue of the poor ignorant citizens that don't or can't comprehend what the issue is about!
For every issue that has faced Meridian the opposing forces never come up with a legitimate
alternative to the proposed issues (they just want it their way or no way!).
Part of the truth is that some who opposed the Cooper Land Project could care less about hiking trails and horse riding trails being lost (the majority of the trails will be left intact!). The citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County would profit from this project by increased tax revenues, population and spin-off business creating more jobs. This would be good because in the long run this would lessen the burden on existing taxpayers (wasn't this the reason that the opposing forces rejected the school bond issue?).
Some in this community don't want to see Meridian grow up! They want Meridian to stay on its present course of shrinking job market, minimum wage jobs aplenty, shrinking population and shrinking tax base!
Last but not least, Bonita and Long Creek belong to the public, not just the biking, hiking, horseback riding, jogging and golfing public, but all the citizens of the area. These segments will not lose their beloved
trails. Let me repeat will not lose their trails. They would just have to share with the rest of the populace! This would be good for all and not just a select few.
Micheal L. Thomas
Meridian
Let's get behind this project'
To the editor:
I need to stipulate three things before I begin. First, I am not a golfer. Second, I am not an apologist for our city administration. Third, I apologize in advance to all my friends on the other side of this issue who I suspect I am about to offend.
I am, of course, talking about the issue of the proposed golf course at Bonita Lakes. The reaction to the proposed golf course is typical of Meridian and is part of the reason we have been stagnating for the past 20 years.
We have chosen up sides and proceeded to make a gigantic mountain out of what should be a "no brainer" mole hill.
There are approximately 3,300 acres in the Bonita Lakes parcel. About 1,300 acres will go to the Cooper project, which leaves 2,000 acres. The new golf course will take up about 200 acres. That leaves about 1,800 acres (less the lake area, Agri-Center and the proposed Arts and Entertainment Center) for hikers and walkers to enjoy.
Are we saying that hikers and walkers have more rights than golfers? Get real, people. A golf course is not the black hole of Calcutta. It will not be a blight on the landscape. Other people have the right to use and enjoy this public property besides you.
Are we supposed to go out and buy property for a new golf course? Where is the money for this purchase supposed to come from? Maybe all the people opposed to this project would like to put up the money. Let's not be ridiculous. There is adequate property there that we already own.
According to all that I have heard, we will lose about a half-mile of hiking trail. Surely that is not enough to raise such a ruckus about. Remember, everyone has the same right to use this property and I think the city has bent over backwards to provide for the requirements of all residents.
I would also like to commend the city for being able to put this Cooper project together. This could be the best thing to hit Meridian in many years. The effects of the Cooper project on our population, tax base and quality of life will be truly enormous.
Let's get behind it and stop all this brouhaha.
Mike Ware
Meridian

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