Cooperation Tackles Problem

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One look at just a few examples of condemned housing tells you why they are no longer habitable. Joe Norwood, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, has led the joint city and county effort to remove these eyesores.

"I don't think anybody in Lauderdale County would like to live next door to one of these. I think it has come to all of us leaders to make sure that we do everything possible to get rid of the health hazards and safety hazards for all of our citizens," Norwood said.

"This is another example of a health hazard. It's right across the street from a playground area and a center that we are remodeling and I'm just happy that we are able to put together a plan with the city to get rid of these eyesores in the community," said Norwood, motioning to a house at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and 14th Street.

Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith said the agreement between the city and county calls for the city to remove the asbestos and prepare the houses for demolition. The county will bulldoze them and remove the debris.

"They have the large dump trucks to haul those destroyed buildings away to the landfill," Smith said. "They also have the equipment to bring in a load of dirt to fill in because you need to leave a level lot."

Norwood and Smith said this example of working together could be a milestone in future city-county relations.

"Don't miss the importance of what happened with the demolition of abandoned housing. It's the way this community must work in the future," said Smith.

"I absolutely agree with the mayor," said Norwood. "I think if the city and the county continue to work on projects like this it will make this community a much better place to live."

The interlocal agreement between the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County now goes to the state attorney general for his approval.