Help those cut off from Oxford by Sardis Lake

Published 12:00 pm Monday, January 18, 2016

Lafayette County and Mississippi leaders need to take a good look at Harmontown.

Residents used to have two bridges prior to the creation of Sardis Lake that connected them to their home county, giving them quick access to Oxford. Now residents have to travel around the lake, making it about a 45-minute trek to come get groceries or shop, pay for a car tag or land taxes. That’s a pretty long drive for anyone, especially when those who were used to having a bridge are making it.

Lafayette County’s board of supervisors will examine this situation as a part of the new comprehensive plan and see if a bridge over the lake is possible or needed.

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Harmontown residents have been without a bridge for roughly 75 years when the existing bridges were submerged under water. They’ve also been without some of the things people take for granted: a bank nearby or a place to quickly get a loaf of bread or milk like a Dollar General a mile down the road. A few years ago some residents rallied and looked at incorporation as a community so that some of those things could come to the area and the drive to pick up necessities would lessen. But that didn’t pan out. One reason it didn’t pan out is because it would likely involve some sort of zoning.

Residents also have presented an idea of having two county seats in Lafayette County to help out those cut off by the lake. There are several counties in the state with two county seats, including nearby Panola, Chickasaw and Carroll counties.

Right now Marshall County is getting most of the business from Harmontown area folks. While that is to be expected from people who live near any county lines in Lafayette County, there has to be a way to do more for our residents in the northern part of the county.

One resident said, “It’s not regulated like the rest of Lafayette County and is just a wildcat area right now.”

We urge officials to examine the situation Harmontown is in and do what’s best for the entire community. If a bridge is too costly, perhaps there are some alternative solutions to put in place and get residents access to things like a bank and groceries.