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Columbus' Lee Middle School designated historical landmark

The two-year dream of bringing life to an abandoned 60-year-old Columbus school took a step closer to reality early Tuesday. In a unanimous vote, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History designated the site of Lee Middle School as a Mississippi Historic Landmark.

Posted: May 22, 2018 4:16 PM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (Press Release) - The two-year dream of bringing life to an abandoned 60-year-old Columbus school took a step closer to reality early Tuesday. In a unanimous vote, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History designated the site of Lee Middle School as a Mississippi Historic Landmark.

Today’s decision and last week’s action by the Columbus Planning Commission and the Columbus City Council to rezone the property on Military Road as C-1, helps move the project ahead to convert the site into a new mixed use facility.

“This is spectacular news,” said John Acker, the chairman of the Columbus Redevelopment Authority. “We have a developer that said these two actions were needed to get historic preservation tax credits for costs of rehabilitation and we have done that. This is not a done deal yet, but we are much closer than ever before.”

The identity of the developer has not yet been announced, but previous information said the site would be made into a commercial operation containing retail and entertainment spaces, as well as loft apartments.

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority was established in 2014 Columbus Mayor Robert Smith and the City Council. Its first Board members were appointed by Mayor Smith. Members of the Authority are John Acker, Chairman, Tommy Lott, Jr., Mark Castlebury, Robert Rhett, and Marthalee Porter.George Irby serves as its Executive Director. The group is charged with redeveloping blighted areas into tax-generating properties that benefit Columbus.

Nancy Carpenter, a member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Executive Director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, made the motion for the designation at the Tuesday morning meeting of the state group.

With the historic designation, the developer can claim up to a 45 percent historic preservation tax credit on money spent on the rehabilitation portion of the project.

“A lot of people have worked to get us this close, and now we are ready for the final steps,” said Acker. The option on the sale of the property runs until June 30, 2018. Acker hopes to close the deal before that date.

The school closed its doors in 2011. It was built as Lee High School in the 1950s and later converted to a middle school before being closed. It includes a separate gymnasium, commercial kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium and classrooms.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
Lauderdale6813226
Lowndes6017137
Lamar586880
Lafayette5721113
Washington5205130
Bolivar4604122
Oktibbeha440693
Panola428893
Pearl River4144129
Warren4124113
Pontotoc408469
Marshall401892
Monroe3982126
Union394974
Neshoba3782168
Lincoln3508100
Hancock343874
Leflore3367118
Sunflower317686
Tate301774
Pike299795
Scott293170
Alcorn291261
Itawamba289374
Yazoo287962
Coahoma277367
Tippah276765
Copiah276357
Simpson273878
Prentiss269558
Leake252271
Wayne252241
Marion251978
Covington248478
Grenada246677
Adams233877
George231245
Newton227552
Winston221475
Jasper212945
Tishomingo211965
Attala206269
Chickasaw200951
Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
Yalobusha143737
Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Montgomery121838
Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
Amite111232
Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
Tunica98923
Claiborne98129
Benton93324
Humphreys92527
Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
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