Marion Gains Grant

The Community Development Block Grant of $250,000 will help extend water lines from Marion to the site of Lauderdale County's new industrial park.

"To initially supply water for the industrial park and for a backup once they get the main line in place," said Marion Mayor Malcolm Threatt. "We were able to get this grant in time to have it installed this year. If somebody wants to come in to the industrial park, then water will be available for them. Hopefully it would attract industry."

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove agreed with Threatt that the potential benefit would touch every part of Lauderdale County and the state.

"When you can point to and show potential businesses that they can have a home with all of those things that are necessary," said Musgrove, "then it places you in a better competitive position against other towns or against other states in attracting business and industry."

Until recently, Marion and Meridian were at odds over property targeted for annexation. Leaders now say that is water under the bridge.

"I think that we're in the best position that we've been in, in a long time," said Marion alderman Joey Wagner. "We have the town of Marion, the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County residents. This is a good time for all of us. And it's time that we all come together and move on so we can get in place the industry we need for the citizens."

Musgrove, who has been criticized by some for neglecting east central Mississippi, described this grant as a way the governor's office can be helpful in making something happen for this part of the state.