Meridian Star

July 28, 2013

How can we help Meridian succeed?

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — People really aren't that complicated.

    We want good health, secure jobs and a safe environment where our families can work, shop and play.

    We want good schools, good roads and adequate infrastructure to meet current and future demands. We want clean air and pure water.

    We want time to spend with our families and friends and quality places in which to do so.

    We want good social intercourse and to be treated with the respect and dignity which should be afforded to every human being.

    Many of these things we already have. Meridian and Lauderdale County are blessed with an abundance of parks, lakes and outdoor spaces for our recreational needs.

    And for its size, Meridian boasts a fair amount of good shopping and dining opportunities.

    As is the case with all places, however, there are areas that need improvement.

    For example, crime is a recurring problem, with far too many shootings, burglaries and robberies.

    We have too many school children falling through the educational cracks and too few quality jobs.

    Here is a partial wish list of areas in which we would like to see improvement. This list isn't meant to assign blame or level criticism.

    We merely say, in a perfect world, these are some of the things we would wish for our community:

    • More law enforcement officers patrolling the streets and improved cooperation between residents, police and deputies in addressing the issue of crime.

    • Schools in which teachers, staff and students feel secure; where children want to learn and parents and members of the community are actively engaged.

    • Fair and impartial school discipline that provides teachers the ability to maintain order in their classrooms while ensuring students' fundamental rights are not abridged.

    * More two-parent households where mothers and fathers are involved in their children's upbringing.

    • Identification of obstacles to attracting new businesses and industries to Meridian and Lauderdale County and a concerted effort to reduce or eliminate as many of those obstacles as possible.

    • Transparency in all local government transactions.

    • A community-wide effort to reduce blight and repair or demolish vacant buildings.

    • Lowering of city of Meridian property taxes to encourage residency and reduce rental costs for potential business owners.

    • Action to restore or demolish the Threefoot building.

    • Access to youth sports for all children in Meridian and Lauderdale County.

    • An improved library, a new or renovated county courthouse and an adequate jail facility.

    • A restructured downtown parking plan that allows workers and visitors to park without worrying about getting a parking ticket.

    • A successful fundraising campaign for, and construction of, the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center in downtown Meridian.

    The list could go on. We are sure there are items of equal or more importance that are not listed here.

    We all want our community to succeed; to be vibrant and to provide the quality of life we all desire.

    We realize that in many of these items, money is an obstacle. Nothing will happen, however, without a vision and a plan of action.

    What's your plan; your wish for our community? We'd like to know.

    Send your thoughts to The Meridian Star editor Michael Stewart at