Meridian leaders plan to use approximately 50 acres near the Jaycee Soccer Complex for new recreational opportunities, according to Richie McAlister, the city's chief administrative officer.
The city council approved a lease agreement with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Tuesday.
The site could include a possible expansion of the existing soccer complex, recreational trails, a playground or a dog park, McAlister said.
“It’s poising us for growth in the future and this is a big deal for the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County,” he said.
Under the agreement, Meridian would pay $1 for a term of 99 years, beginning Nov. 1.
Council member George Thomas, who represents Ward 1, said the land off Old 8th Street Road could also be used for more fields, baseball or parking.
“We have a major problem with parking at the soccer complex right now,” he said.
The city council also approved an ordinance Tuesday adopting regulations for small cell technology facilities in Meridian.
C.D. Smith, regional director for AT&T Mississippi, said AT&T is planning on deploying the technology in the city.
Devices under 20 inches long could be mounted on existing poles or street lights or stand-alone poles in areas with a high concentration of people, like near hospitals and the mall or along the interstate, he said.
The technology, which is already deployed in Hattiesburg, helps keep calls from being dropped as demand increases, Smith said.
“Because of increased demands for wireless and broadband communications, it is important for us to continue to prepare for the growth in demand,” he said.
According to Smith, the technology could be a potential revenue source for the city.
“It also is a great tool for the city of Meridian, Lauderdale County, EMBDC to have when recruiting industry here, so that they know that the city has the technology available to take on additional individuals that are coming here that would utilize that service,” McAlister said.