The streets of the Highlands Plantation resort community have been in disrepair for years.
The roadways have deteriorated, potholes have grown deeper and discontent among residents has left the community”s homeowners struggling to find renters, Highlands Plantation Home Owners Association President Jay Bradley said.
“The roads were the biggest complaint of anybody out here,” Bradley said Friday afternoon.
Bradley and the rest of the Highlands Plantation HOA are taking steps to fix that problem.
Asphalt crews from Pearson Enterprises, of Kosciusko, began repaving the approximately 6 miles of roads in Highlands Plantation last Monday. The nearly mile-long entrance off Highway 182 is complete, along with Muirfield Drive north of the bridge and Dumbarton Road. The second and third phases of the project will result in the paving of St. Andrews Lane, Kirk Cauldy Road, Glasgow Cove, Loch Lane and Inverness Drive, said Taylor Bragan, secretary treasurer of the Highlands Plantation HOA.
Bradley and Bragan expect the repaving on the north side of Highlands Plantation to be complete by the end of May, depending on the weather. Paving on the south side of Highlands Plantation should be complete by September or October, Bradley said. A new drainage system also is being installed in the community.
The roughly $600,000 project is being paid for by the community”s homeowners, Bradley said, many of whom rent their properties to Mississippi State University students and young professionals. Each homeowner was ordered to pay $1 per square foot to pay for the new roads and drainage system, Bradley said.
If homeowners pay before March 31, they can deduct 30 percent from their payment, Bragan said. So far, 90 percent of homeowners have paid, he said.
Over the past year, more than 20 homes in the community were under foreclosure, Bragan said, but in the last two weeks, four or five have been sold.
“A lot of the reason for the foreclosures was the roads,” Bragan said.
“You”ve got to have renters and nobody wanted to rent out here with these roads,” Bradley added.
Bradley and Bragan are pleased so many homeowners, many of whom live out of state, were willing to pay their assessments prior to the March 31 deadline and receive the 30 percent discount.
“Everything has really worked out,” Bradley said.
The Highlands Plantation HOA asked Oktibbeha County to take over ownership of the roads, but the county declined. Bradley said he also asked the county for funds to help repave the roads, but his request was rejected.
“This is completely and utterly the Home Owners Association,” Bradley said. “They stepped up to the plate and paid …”
“The owners made the investment,” Bradley added later. “Now they need to see the return.”
Plans are also in the works to reopen the community”s golf course, but there is “no guarantee” on a potential deal, Bradley said.
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