No Interchange Site Yet

Sweet Gum Bottom Road has apparently been ruled out as a choice for the location of an interstate interchange, linking I-20/59 to the yet-unoccupied park.

"So when you drop back to what the choices are, there's Hawkins Crossing. Now, they've looked at Sweet Gum Bottom and the second time in a row the engineers in the room have decided that Federal Highway and MDOT that that doesn't look like it's going to make sense," said John Robert Smith, Mayor of Meridian.

City engineer Monty Jackson pointed out the new interchange is needed for more than merely serving the industrial park.

"If you take into consideration what the new interchange is trying to do is to relieve the traffic at this interchange, provide traffic flow into the new industrial park, an interchange in between 45 and Highway 39 and 19 interchange gives access to Central Industrial Park with the possibility of the Arts and Entertainment Center going south of there, gives you a route in there," Jackson said.

While the interchange is still no news, the city's financial condition is. Auditor Paul Breazeale from Jackson delivered the fiscal year annual report for 2003 to the council Tuesday.

"Based on our audit, I think the city of Meridian is in good financial condition. There are a lot of cities around Mississippi, a lot of counties too, that would kill for financial statements that looked like that," said Breazeale. "If you look at the general fund expenditures, the general fund revenues, all those things indicated there's stability, there's consistency and there's wisdom in the financial statement," said Breazeale.