Houlka caps quest for resort status

By Lisa Voyles/Chickasaw Journal

HOULKA – “I’m done with it,” said Houlka Alderman Johnny Butler about the town seeking resort status.

Over 20 residents attended the Nov. 6 board meeting and the overwhelming majority was not in favor of the status, which could allow alcohol to be sold within the city limits. Those in favor of the status believed it would draw in new business and/or tourism with the completion of the Tanglefoot Trail bike and walking path that runs from New Albany to Houston.

Board attorney Jimmy Hood said the issue was moot because the town could not be granted resort status under a local and private bill. Hood said the matter would have to go to a city referendum and the city would need to have a population of at least 1,500. At the 2010 census, Houlka’s population was 626 residents.

“I would be in favor of doing what the majority wants, but at 1,500 it seems to me it’s no go,” said Alderman Beverly Davidson. “We don’t have 1,500 people.”

Hood said the state legislature would have to propose a bill to grant the town a designation of resort status.

“There’s no need in considering something that won’t matter unless they change the law,” said Mayor Jimmy Kelly. “In my opinion, they cannot pass that legislation with only 500 people.”

The board agreed not to pursue resort status further.

The board entered into a contract with the Houlka Nazarene Church to sell a piece of city property to the church for $10,000 to be used by the church for future expansion.

In other matters, the board

* Asked for costs on repairing or replacing a sewer machine

* Asked Hood to research options on rebidding a sewer project that came in over budget