By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Now that the Meridian Police Department has moved to its new location, the question remains of what to do with the old police department building. It will likely be torn down, according to George Thomas, Ward 1 councilman and president of the Meridian City Council.
"We plan to tear it down and build a parking lot there for City Hall," Thomas said. "We hope to do some type of deal on the other side of City Hall to put something in there."
Thomas was referring to the empty lot that faces 7th Street where it intersects with 24th. That lot is used for visitors to City Hall, the mayor and City Council.
The council has not taken any official action to tear the building down, but Thomas said he doesn't see much hope for using the building for anything else.
"From what I've been told, there's really nothing you can covert it to," Thomas said.
The building was constructed about 40 years ago to house the police department and for its time, it was state-of-the-art, Thomas said.
Mayor-elect Percy Bland agrees that the building should go.
"I think we are going to demolish that building," Bland said. "I would like to look at that space there and see what else we could do."
While he favors having a parking lot there, he said perhaps some of the property could be used for other purposes.
"If you look at the size of that building, it's enough space for us to do something in addition to parking," Bland said. "It's large enough for us to creatively come up with something that creates more activity for downtown."
The lot that holds the old police department is 34,280 square feet, according to Randall Gaither of the city's Planning Department. That's about two-thirds of an acre, he said.
The Meridian Police Department moved into its new 44,000 square feet headquarters on 22nd Avenue in late May.
Some things still need to be moved from the old building, according to Capt. Dean Harper, who said there is still one person working in the building.