Officials in northeast Mississippi are taking steps to acquire more land for Toyota's SUV assembly plant.
The P-U-L Alliance, the group responsible for developing the site, has begun legal proceedings against two landholders at the 17-hundred acre site. The alliance is made up of representatives from Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties.
On February 27th, Toyota announced it will build its new North American manufacturing plant west of Tupelo near Blue Springs. The 400-acre core site is expected to be ready for construction to begin May 1st.
The entire plant will need more land. That's the focus of the current flurry of negotiations and property assessments.
Eminent domain proceedings have begun on a one-acre site held by the Poplar Springs Baptist Church. The church received a deed to the property in 1886. The land has been vacant for 50-60 years.
Randy Kelley, director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District, which is helping the PUL Alliance with its site prep duties says attorneys couldn't find any living people from the deed.
He says once the court approves the eminent domain, the money will be deposited with the court until someone claims it and the judge approves.
Eminent domain is the power to take private property for public use by the state or municipality with just compensation through a legal procedure.
Kelley says the other site that will be taken the same way is owned by relatives who can't decide among themselves to sell.
MyFox Memphis, Memphis TN: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com