Rumors Take Potential New Soccer Fields "Off The Table" - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

1/03/05

Rumors Take Potential New Soccer Fields "Off The Table"

Rumors and accusations surround a potential sportsplex in Ocean Springs.

City leaders were planning to build soccer fields on a 12 acre site, which they agreed to purchase from local businessman Charlie Carr.

On Sunday, however, Carr pulled the plug on the deal saying he's tired of the attempts by others to malign his character. For Carr, it was the last straw.

"There's too much acrimony," said Carr. "There's too much name calling. They say that I tell people not to sign it."

Carr cites a letter to the editor where Ocean Springs alderman Matt McDonnell writes of complaints he's received from people accusing Carr of using intimidation to defeat a petition.

"Very inaccurate and it's also a damn lie to accuse somebody of that," said Carr.

For weeks some Ocean Springs residents have been trying to collect enough signatures to force a citywide vote on a $1.6 million bond.

Carr accuses the people in charge of the petitions of skewing the facts by not revealing that the city will use only part of that money to buy his land for a soccer complex.

"The bond issue was $1.6 million. $200,000 of that had been allocated for two vacant lots in the downtown portion of Ocean Springs. They were not being applied to the driving range," Carr said.

"My only comment to those people was to explain to people where the money was going accurately," he added.

Tired of what he calls a "deceitful misinformation campaign" Carr wrote a letter to the mayor and the board of alderman informing his property is "off the table."

"Political. Strictly political," said Alderman Danny Jalanivich.

Jalanivich says he's disappointed that what could have been a good deal for Ocean Springs has fallen through.

"I think it's a shame," he said. "I think the kids of Ocean Springs deserve something after 30 years of not having new recreation facilities built. We were on our way to having them something, some easy access soccer fields, and it's a shame."

Carr says until he decides what to do with property, he'll hold on to his land and hopefully his good name.

We asked alderman Matt McDonnell about Charlie Carr's allegations that McDonnell had attacked his character.

McDonnell said he wasn't at the petition drive and what he wrote was what he was told had happened.

We also talked to several people who helped circulate the petition. They deny knowing that some of their information was inaccurate and say their only goal was to get the public a chance to vote.

By: Danielle Thomas

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