Meridian is on its way to becoming the first city in the state to offer the First Tee golf program to young people, and supporters say the program will also teach values.

Robert Ward, president of the First Tee Program of Meridian and Lauderdale County, told the Meridian City Council on Tuesday that in order to bring the program to Meridian, the city must enter into a 17-year lease with the program.

The council unanimously approved the proposal.

Sessions will be conducted at the driving range at Lakeview Golf Course, which is not being used. In exchange, First Tee would make improvements to the course and provide a training facility. Ward said the program teaches values such as honesty, integrity and perseverance.

Mark Naylor, the city’s director of parks and recreation, said the program would not interfere with public use of the golf course, but the public would be able to use the improved driving range when it is not being used by First Tee.

In other business, Meridian School Board President Fred Wile told council members that State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds will meet with members of the school district’s steering committee today to discuss the future of Meridian Public Schools. He said the meeting was originally scheduled for last week.

Wile said the school district wants to move ninth-graders to Meridian High School and to offer specialized diplomas. Wile said he hopes the school district will implement some of the changes by the start of the next school year.

In other business, the council approved a motion to place a traffic light at M Street, near the Roadway plant off Highway

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