PURVIS — Residents of the Bellevue community of Lamar County are launching a petition drive to become a city.
The Hattiesburg American reports a group called Citizens of Bellevue has been studying incorporation for the past 13 months.
Organizers outlined their plans Thursday to the Lamar County Board of Supervisors.
The city would span about 15 square miles with an initial population of 5,000 to 10,000.
The incorporation procedure in Mississippi requires the filing of a petition with the chancery court with the signatures of two-thirds of the registered voters in the proposed incorporation area and a proposed group of officers including a mayor and aldermen.
“We’re going to be going out and talking to as many people as we can, trying to sell the vision of the future of Bellevue. But we believe that when we go out … we’re going to have much higher support than that. I think you’ll probably find that the momentum is already there,” said John Adcock, who would serve as the city’s first mayor.
Upon incorporation, city services would be gradually implemented.
The city would feature enhanced fire protection and increased police presence, as Bellevue representatives are planning to create their own police force to ease the burden on the sheriff’s department.
The move marks the first incorporation effort since Oak Grove started the process in the face of Hattiesburg’s expansion into Lamar County in the late 1980s.
Talks of Bellevue incorporation intensified last year, after Hattiesburg City Council adopted “an ordinance enlarging, extending and defining the corporate limits and boundaries” of the city “to include certain lands situated in Lamar County,” specifically a 2-acre parcel containing a gas station/convenience store.
“Bellevue is not a new concept — our community has been identified as Bellevue for a very long time,” Adcock said. “We have seen incredible growth and development in our community, a lot of it very rapidly through the past several years.”