City council to vote on design firm
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
July 16, 2002
The Meridian City Council is expected to vote today on an agreement with a Jackson-based engineering firm that will begin work on a U.S. 45 interchange at the planned Cooper development.
City officials want to pay Engineering Associates up to $1.47 million to design the interchange and manage construction. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Meridian Police Department.
Monty Jackson, the city's public works director, said it's important for the design process of the interchange to begin quickly so that construction can begin by March 2003.
The U.S. 45 interchange would link the Bonita Lakes area with the planned Cooper Communities a $35 million gated retirement community near the Longcreek Reservoir and Bonita's upper lake.
Cooper Land Development Inc., the parent company of Cooper Communities, said they need the interchange because it would provide access to the planned community.
Company officials originally said they had planned to begin showing lots to prospective residents in March 2003. However, the company has not signed a final agreement with the city for the project.
In May, city leaders announced plans to pay for the estimated $6 million – $8 million U.S. 45 interchange by tapping into a $10 million line of credit established earlier this year.
In the end, the Mississippi Department of Transportation would re-pay the city 80 percent of the cost for the interchange. The money would be re-paid over a five- to six-year period.
The city would be responsible for funding the remaining 20 percent plus interest on its debt.