Meridian Star

February 2, 2013

County seeks project funding in D.C.

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     MIlitary issues, economic development and infrastructure are among the topics three Lauderdale County supervisors will address when they travel to Washington D.C. later this month to meet with the state's congressional delegation.

    Wayman Newell, District 2, Joe Norwood, District 4, and Josh Todd, District 3, are among officials who will lobby for projects for Lauderdale County Feb. 13-14.

    Norwood said the board of supervisors has, for some time, been interested in buying the federal building on 22nd Avenue now that the federal court is no longer going to be held there. He wants to find out more about the building and any opportunity the county might have to procure it.

    "We're not interested in leasing it. We're interested in buying the building," Norwood said. "We need more courtroom space."

    With Naval Air Station Meridian here, Norwood said supervisors also intend to protect its presence.

    "We can't wait until they come around with another round of base closings," he said. "We need to be prepared to defend our base."

    Newell said board members will also lobby to find money for a road outlet for Central Industrial Park.

    "The main reason is safety, but it would also help economic growth out there," Newell said.

    The length would be approximately eight-tenths of a mile, he said and would route traffic to Jimmie Rodgers Parkway.

    Traffic out of Central Industrial Park currently comes back down to Hawkin's Crossing and into what Newell called the busiest intersection in Meridian — at Interstate 20/59, and Highway 19.

    The estimated cost of the project is $3 million.

    Efforts to find a company to locate in the building that formerly housed Handy Hardware will also be ongoing during the D.C. trip.

    Others attending include Rick Barry, county attorney; and Joe McCraney, county administrator.