Hinds County retreat seeks resort status from state

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Providence Hill Farm, a 1,250-acre retreat in northwest Hinds County, has been given approval by the Hinds County Board of Supervisors to seek state status as a resort area.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue is responsible for approving resort status for an establishment or area. The process begins with the board of supervisors issuing a resolution in support of an area gaining resort status.

House Bill 1132 passed by the Legislature this year and signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant adds new facilities that can become qualified resorts, said Department of Revenue spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury. With the change in the law, which becomes effective July 1, Providence Hill is one of the new facilities that qualify.

Resort status allows an area to operate 24 hours a day and be able to sell alcoholic beverages under the local option alcoholic beverage law. Providence Farm officials have notified county officials that the facility will apply for an alcohol and beverage license, said Supervisor Darrel McQuirter, whose district includes the area.

McQuirter, a minister, said Providence Farm should have some time restrictions for the sale of materials and alcohol.

McQuirter proposed to the Board of Supervisors that Providence Farm be allowed to sell alcohol from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Jamie Planck Martin, owner of Providence Hill, said seeking resort status isn't about a liquor license. She said the facility already sells beer and wine.

"We have no intentions of doing much more than what we are doing now in term of alcohol," Martin said.

She said resort status would help with making Providence Hill the premiere sporting club in the South.

"It would make us more available for grants and funds through the Mississippi Development Authority," Martin said.

Providence Hill has existed since 2004, but the Sporting Club part only opened last year.

On Providence Hill's website, it's build as a family escape with a sporting theme. It has a 13 stations sporting clay range, a five- stand clay range, full skeet and trap ranges, an 800-yard rifle range and a pistol range, a 24-target 3-D archery range. Also, there are three bass lakes stocked wide mouth and striped bass, a catfish pond, a 36-stall stone stable, covered arena and all-weather footing arenas for hunter/jumper enthusiasts.

The facility boasts itself as the site for the Mississippi College Sporting Clays and Bass Fishing teams, ISHA Collegiate Equestrian Team, the Jackson Prep IEA Equestrian Team and Gun and Bow Team.

Providence Farms has a feature films and television facility, and space for corporate luncheons and dinners, weddings, receptions and other events.

The facility offers lodging as well with two bedroom cottage and five bedroom stable suites for overnight guests.

"We have a premiere sporting club; we want it to be the best in the South," Martin said.


House Bill 1132 (http://bit.ly/1KKagC3)

New facilities that can obtain resort status under the new law that goes into effect July 1:

— A place that consists of at least 6,000 square feet being heated and cooled along with an additional adjacent area that consists of at least 2,200 square feet regardless of whether heated and cooled.

— A place for a fee is used to host events such as weddings, reunions and conventions.

— A place that provides lodging accommodations regardless of whether part of the facility and/or located adjacent to or in close proximity to the facility, and is located on property that consists of at least 30 contiguous acres

— A place located on property that consists of at least 125 contiguous acres and consisting of an 18- hole golf course, and/or located in a facility that consists of at least 8,000 square feet being heated and cooled.

— A place used for the purpose of providing meals and hosting events

— A place used for the purpose of teaching culinary arts courses and/or turf management and grounds keeping courses, and/or outdoor recreation and leadership courses;

— A place located on property on or near a bayou or other waterway,

— A place used for the purpose of culinary arts courses, and/or outdoor recreation and leadership courses.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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