Frank center

The Frank Cochran Center was damaged by fire in late 2019. 

The City of Meridian is moving forward with plans to build a new Frank Cochran Center, after the iconic building was damaged by fire in late 2019. 

Mayor Jimmie Smith said the city is working with East Central Planning and Development District to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to fund the new construction.

“We’re hoping to get about $4 million,” Smith told the city council Tuesday.

The council on Tuesday voted unanimously to set aside the city’s 20 percent match to the grant. Council President George Thomas said the matching funds needed to be reserved to go forward with the application.

“We have to have the match in-kind before we even apply,” he said.

In June, former city parks and recreation director Trent Posey said prior to the fire, the Frank Cochran Center was the city’s most rented-out facility. He said there was a lot of interest in the community to have a building that size available again.

Smith said the city is hoping to fast track the grant process and had already begun advertising for architects to draw up the plans for the new center. An announcement about whether the city’s grant application was awarded could come early next year.

Other business

In other business, the council also voted to apply for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation to install sidewalks.

The $750,000 grant would pay for about 1,500 feet of sidewalk along 23rd Avenue. The city would be required to match $250,000 for the project.

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