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Business owner continues search for new location

By Staff
MAKING ROOM Lawrence Welden's business, Lawrence's Jewelry &Repair at Eighth Street and 24th Avenue, will soon be demolished to make room for a new downtown parking garage. Welden continues to search for a new location for his shop. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Jan. 14, 2002
While city leaders work with architects to design a downtown parking garage, one local businessman continues to search for a new location to house his jewelry store.
Lawrence Welden, owner of Lawrence's Jewelry &Repair on Eighth Street, will have to close his downtown store to make way for the new parking garage.
Welden's store is one of three downtown businesses that eventually will be forced out when construction begins on the $7 million garage for the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
The garage will be built on the city block between Seventh and Eighth streets and 23rd and 24th avenues. It represents Meridian's contribution to the Riley Center project.
In addition to Lawrence's Jewelry, Jack's Sandwich Shop and BankPlus will also be affected by the garage. BankPlus has moved to 22nd Avenue and Fourth Street; Jack's remains in place.
Welden and Deloris Ogelsby, owner of Jack's Sandwich Shop, said in October they were angry city officials hadn't notified them about plans to buy the entire block.
Last week, Welden said he still isn't sure when he'll have to close his jewelry shop. But, he said, his business has suffered from the city's announcement.
Maureen Lofton, assistant for governmental affairs for the city of Meridian, said the parking garage is in the design phase and "it could take quit some time" for that work to be completed.
The city is working with Dale &Associates on the design; the firm will be paid $117,765 for the first phase of the project.
City leaders unveiled a parking and transportation survey at last week's city council meeting. The survey is designed to gather input from the public about the new garage.
Residents can participate by getting copies of the survey at city offices, at the city's website at www.meridianms.org and in an ad placed in The Meridian Star.
Deadline for completing the survey is Friday.