Lauderdale County leaders look to block visitors from vacant Village Fair Mall

Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star

The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors discussed blocking off access to the old Village Fair Mall site, which the county purchased this summer.

The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors is trying to stop unwanted visitors from wandering around the old Village Fair Mall.

The county announced plans in June to purchase the approximately 39-acre property for $1.25 million. The mall shut down in 1997.

District 1 Supervisor Jonathan Wells said he has seen people walking around the site and it appears some have been staying in a loading dock. He’s worried about safety and liability for the county.

“If a building’s not being used and it’s not being kept, it’s going to become hazardous," Wells said. "We know that over the course of time, windows have been broken, some of the parts of the building are falling in, and we don’t want people getting in there and getting hurt.”

Boards on the windows have not been a deterrent, Wells said.

“If people want to find a way in, they’re going to do that, and obviously they have done that,” Wells said.

At a work session Thursday, supervisors discussed adding signs and a fence to secure the site and working with the sheriff’s department to discourage the public from entering the area.

The county plans to demolish the old mall and potentially build a new courthouse on the land, Wells said. He hopes investors can help the area grow.

“We have a vision of that entire area becoming more than it is today," Wells said. "Getting that building down is going to make our entranceway into our city more desirable.”

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