By Joe Buck Coates
After a year of deliberation, discussion and fine tuning, the City of Hazlehurst is prepared to accept the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance prepared with cooperation from the city by Central Mississippi Planning and Development District.
Without a doubt it is, as alderman Dr. Rick Akin proclaimed at last Tuesday’s board meeting, “long overdue.”
A look around central Mississippi shows other towns who have successfully implemented their own plans and ordinances, and have stuck to them over the years. Of course, the City of Madison stands out. What once was a quiet, sleepy little Mississippi town in rural Madison County, Madison is now a burgeoning retail and housing center. Simply put, it’s where everyone wants to go.
It did not happen for them overnight. The city’s leaders fought tooth and nail for years to come up with and implement a plan that would ensure its success–and one that would serve the majority of its residents and businesses fairly.
Without going into great detail, the plan for the city of Hazlehurst will aid in this area’s development as a cultural, business and governmental center for the next 20 years. It will also help neighborhoods with their efforts to improve curb appeal, and keep commercial activity in areas where they need to be.
It’s a big step for the city, and one that has been a critical need. Pressures will come and compromises will have to be considered down the road, but overall it’s a good direction for Hazlehurst.