JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The land off LeMoyne Boulevard was once home to St. Martin Middle School before Katrina destroyed it. It's empty and overgrown, but that is about to change. Jackson County supervisors will lease the land from the school system for no money and will build a soccer complex here.
Troy Ross is the Jackson County supervisor who represents the area.
"This is kind of a two for one. We need the space for additional soccer fields so the kids in the youth leagues will have the additional areas to play and practice, and it also solves a problem of an eyesore that's been in this neighborhood since Katrina," Ross said.
One of those neighbors is Linda Russell, who can see the field from the back of her home. She welcomes the change.
"I've always felt like we had the best lot in the subdivision because it overlooks that field. But for awhile there we had snakes and rats, mice and all kinds of critters coming up into the yard," Russell said. "So now I think that's going to stop some of that."
Obviously, from an aesthetic standpoint, a well maintained and groomed soccer complex is going to be much better than what's been here for the past seven and a half years. However, there's also an added benefit in the form of more people, according to Ross.
"Hopefully, when people come down here to play sports and events. They'll be hungry when they come down here and they'll decide to eat at a sandwich shop or one of the local restaurants. That may pull more business and help existing businesses in the area," Ross said.
One of those restaurants is Sicily's Pizza. Workers there delight in the prospect of a bigger slice of business.
"I think it's going to help this business a lot," Manager Jeff Cadman said. "It will definitely increase because we're family oriented. So having those kids down there with their families, it will definitely help my business a lot."
The price tag for the complex will be about half a million dollars. County workers will do most of the work, keeping the cost down. Work should begin later this summer and take about two years to complete.