River plan worthy of pursuit

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 19, 2008

A long-dormant Pearl River diversion plan now seeing new liferepresents an economic development opportunity not only forLawrence County but the rest of Southwest Mississippi.

Monticello Mayor Dave Nichols recognized that fact whendiscussing the plan that would result in the creation of an oxbowlake and an island potentially capable of having residential,commercial and recreational developments.

“There are different thoughts on developing the island, but thiswould create jobs and make the town a tourist destination,” Nicholssaid. “All that just makes the local economy better. If it happens,this would be one of the best things to hit Southwest Mississippi,not just Monticello.”

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The diversion plan, envisioned more than 20 years but nowfinding new support, still has a number of questions to be answeredbefore it can proceed. Among the issues to be addressed are theengineering and mechanics of the diversion and the actual size ofthe island, and potential downstream flooding concerns pose apotential to halt the project.

But from what has been presented so far, the project sounds likeone with great potential for Monticello, Lawrence County and thesurrounding area. Community officials should be encouraged tocontinue to explore river diversion plan possibilities.