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Councilman: Use $10 million line of credit for city projects

By Staff
LEAKY MESS – Sharon Allen, an employee at the Meridian Police Department, sorts papers at her desk just feet away from rain-soaked and moldy ceiling tiles. Allen's office is one of several inside the police station on Sixth Street that has leaky and moldy ceilings. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 10, 2002
With the prospect of a $35 million retirement community gone, some city councilmen are considering what Meridian can do with funds once earmarked for the project.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith said he's curious what will happen to the $10 million line of credit councilmen hoped would help fund construction of a U.S. 45 interchange to a retirement community.
On Monday, city leaders announced that Arkansas-based Cooper Communities Inc. abandoned plans to build 3,000 new homes and two new championship golf courses in southeast Meridian.
City leaders had hoped the community would lure thousands of residents and attract new businesses to Meridian. The loss of Cooper left unclear the future of the city's $10 million line of credit.
Council acts
In January, the city council established a line of credit with the Mississippi Development Bank a fund administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.
Councilmen later voted to tap the line of credit and use most of the money to fund the U.S. 45 interchange.
The money also could be used for such things as public parking projects, city buildings, public playgrounds, firefighting equipment, street repairs and storm drainage systems.
Smith said he would like to see the council use some of the $10 million in the line of credit to pave city streets and possibly build a new police station or relocate the current station.
The current station, he said, is old and has many problems, including a leaky roof, moldy ceilings and dirty air vents.
New station
Police Chief Benny DuBose said the police station is more than 30 years old. DuBose said he and the city administration are now looking for possible sites to relocate the station.
While some councilmen want to tap the line of credit, others don't.
Ward 3 Councilman Barbara Henson said she would like to "just leave it alone."