Land has been acquired for a major development in Southwest Mississippi.
Announced by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Scenic Rivers Development Alliance has acquired approximately 150 acres of land along the shoreline of Lake Okhissan in Franklin County from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
Plans for the land include a 200-room lodge and a 1,000-person conference center in an effort to provide “a home base for visitors wishing to enjoy the great outdoors in Southwest Mississippi.”
Hyde-Smith sponsored a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that paved the way for the SRDA’s acquisition of the land.
“The U.S. Forest Service land transfer to the Scenic Rivers Development Alliance is absolutely wonderful news and a crucial step for this plan to bring jobs and economic development to southwest Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said. “I’ve long been invested in this project, and I am eager to see the economic benefits it will bring to this rural region. I am also very grateful to the Forest Service and Secretary Vilsack for following through on this.”
State legislators sponsored bond bills, supported by the Governor Tate Reeves, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, and Speaker Phillip Gunn to fund the purchase of the land.
In addition to the lodge and conference center, the development will also feature a variety of workforce training platforms. Work on the project is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Following the announcement, SRDA Executive Director Joseph Parker stated “relationships with the United States Department of Agriculture, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County, the Town of Meadville, along with private companies like C Spire and Franklin Telephone Company have and remain the key to this project.”
Members of the Scenic Rivers Development Alliance are Pike County, Franklin County, Amite County, Wilkinson County, Walthall County, and the City of McComb.
With the land residing within his district, Congressman Michael Guest praised the project’s progress.
“Rural economic development is a key component to Mississippi’s overall economic health. The Lake Okhissa project has brought together key players from the public and private sectors in a unified goal to make southwest Mississippi an even better place to live, worship, and raise a family, and it’s been an honor to work with them towards this goal,” Guest said.
Parker also acknowledged the support of the entire Mississippi Congressional Delegation, including United States Senator Roger Wicker, Representative Steven Palazzo, Representative Trent Kelly, and Representative Bennie Thompson
Check out additional renderings of the development below: