ENTERPRISE – Randy Pope is winding a four-wheeler through a recently constructed trail shaded by towering loblolly pine trees.
He can picture families hiking and bird-watching here or stopping for a rest along the river bank.
“It’s probably one of the prettiest stretches of rapids of the Chunky, Okatibbee, Chickasawhay River system,” he says, looking out at the rushing river.
Pope, the recreational developer for Mississippi Land and Lakes in Meridian, plans to develop 14 lots on 22 acres off Highway 513 in Enterprise with three other investors.
Construction of the first spec home is expected to begin this month.
The 98-acre private residential community, called The Riverbend Plantation, is less than 20 miles from Meridian.
“It’s a lifestyle community on a dead-end road, one mile from a great school and three restaurants within five minutes,” Pope said.
Buyers will also own 1/17th of 66 acres of green space and have access to an additional 32 acres, including walking trails, he said.
Pope expects the lots and green space to sell for $90,000 to $110,000.
The lodge-style houses will need to be elevated because they sit in a natural floodplain that was once the site of a sawmill and the old town of Enterprise, Pope said.
“There’s been a move in the country to provide lifestyle living opportunities associated with green space, where you do a limited amount of development and protect unique properties,” Pope said.
All of the investors are avid conservationists and there will be no development along the river, he said.
The land is owned by Riverbend Plantation Properties LLC and The Cypress Bend Group LLC, and Hill Real Estate Group LLC will handle the marketing and sales for the development, according to Pope.
Although there are seven artesian wells on the property, water will come from Enterprise and electricity from Mississippi Power, he said.
Pope estimated the project would be complete within two years.
“It's going to help the town a lot," said Enterprise Mayor Larry Murray, who toured the property.
He said he hopes young people purchase lots and enroll their children in the school district.
Troy Smith, the Clarke County supervisor for District 3, said the project could be a boost to the county's tax base.
“The impact is there will be more people, tax dollars from the new housing to be built,” Smith said. “It's a pretty place.”