A proposal to swap the City of Carthage’s stake in the Panola County Expo Center for the county-owned Anderson Park in downtown Carthage got a favorable reaction from city commissioners on Monday.

“I love it,” Commissioner Lin Joffrion said.

Commissioners agreed to proceed with further discussions. Panola County officials gave similar approval at a May 28 meeting.

The proposal would see Carthage give up responsibility for its part in the Expo Center — right now they are paying utilities — and take on the maintenance and management of Anderson Park.

The county is seeking to expand the Expo Center’s building footprint to accommodate a new Elections Office and Extension Office; the county closed the courthouse annex/old Sammy Brown Library building that used to house those offices.

Panola County Pct. 1 Commissioner Ronnie LaGrone said during a May 28 meeting they want to get at least 100 feet of property in front and in back of the building for the new offices.

Carthage City Manager Steve Williams said the land swap would not affect many of the city’s events.

“I think we would be able to use that building if we needed it,” he said. “I think the only thing we use it for now that I know of is Potlach.”

Swapping the Expo Center for Anderson Park would also lesson confusion when it comes to complaints, Williams said.

“Y’all know that’s always been kind of a — everybody thinks we have the square and take care of it, and we get complaints on it. So it’s just kind of a mess the way that works (now),” he said.


Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.