D'Iberville lease part of Friday's special session

Published: Aug. 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2010 at 9:00 PM CDT
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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) – When Moby Solangi decided to build a $75 million ocean expo in D'Iberville, one of agreements he reached was getting access to a six-and-a-half acre parcel near I-110.  City leaders agreed to acquire that land and lease it to Solangi for 99 years.  But that lease can't be finalized unless state lawmakers approve it.

According to D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus, when lawmakers return to Jackson on Friday for a special session, they'll be asked to ratify a bill that gives D'Iberville the right to enter into 99 year leases with Solangi, with developers of the Oyster Bay Casino, with the people who'd like to create a French Market near the waterfront, and with representatives of the Hattie Mae and Children's Healthy Living Center.

WLOX News has learned a similar request never made it out of the House of Representatives' local and private committee during the 2010 legislative session.

For Solangi, the long term lease is important, but not critical to his development plans.  "It's private land and then the city is trying to acquire it to give it to us," he said.  What we want to do is deal with the city directly."

Behind the scenes work is already underway to get the ocean expo out of ground by the end of the year.  Solangi says if he doesn't, he could lose federal grant money that's helping fund his project.  "We're finishing up some environmental work," he said.  "There's really no stopping it."

Governor Haley Barbour says the D'Iberville bill is one of three development bills lawmakers can consider on Friday when the return to their chambers for the special session.

A news release from the governor's office says the focus of the special session will be economic development, specifically a $500 million project that could create jobs across Mississippi.  His letter to lawmakers says he wants them to approve the Mississippi Development Authority Workforce Training Fund at colleges and junior colleges across the Magnolia state.

Barbour's letter says the training will be for a business enterprise "producing renewable crude oil from biomass harvested or produced in Mississippi."

According to the governor's office, the project could produce a 1,000 direct and indirect jobs all over Mississippi.  And it could mean $85 million in new wages for Mississippi workers.

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