Meridian Star

Local News

March 5, 2014

City moves forward on walking trail grant

MERIDIAN — Terri Ferguson Smith

tsmith@themeridianstar.com

    Meridian will get a new walking trail if it is approved for a $100,000 grant.

    The Meridian City Council approved an application on Tuesday for a grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for a walking, running and mountain bike trail at Old 8th Street Road near the soccer complex.

    John McClure, director of Community Development, said the 35-40 acres near the soccer fields is leased by the East Mississippi State Hospital.

    The grant, if approved will require a 20 percent match from the city.

    Ward 2 Councilman Dustin Markham said he hopes for an additional park as well.

    "We are also going to look into possibly putting in a dog park," Markham said.

    In other action, the council moved forward its efforts to get traffic signals on Highway 39 north of the softball complex.

    Two traffic signals will be installed; one at the intersection of Highway 39 and Windmill Road; another at the intersection of Highway 39 and Old Country Club Road.

    "Right now there is no signal of any kind," said George Thomas, Ward 1 Councilman and council president.

    Thomas said that sometimes makes it difficult for cars to enter Highway 39. The signals will remain green on Highway 39 unless there is traffic waiting on Windmill or Old Country Club Road.

    Council members learned of the police department's plans to save money on ankle monitoring by handling the process "in-house."

    Chief of Police James Lee, along with Michelle Joiner, court collections specialist, presented a plan in which the city will pay $5.85 a day for those wearing ankle monitors, as opposed to the current price of $22 a day.

    Mayor Percy Bland also announced a cost savings for the city, saying the city has negotiated its property and casualty insurance to save approximately $225,000.

    The council also approved a resolution to correct the record regarding a recent bond issue of $1.2 million for water and sewer improvements.

    Attorney Trey Hairston, a bond attorney, said three bank bids were inadvertently overlooked, but the interest rates were all higher than the winning bid by Hancock Bank, which won the bid at 2.2 percent.

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