Community Grant: East Meridian

There's a new development in an effort to build a new community center in Meridian. After some debate, Meridian City Council members voted unanimously Friday morning to take the lead role in seeking a federal grant to build a large multi-purpose community center on the east side of Meridian. Prior to this new development, Lauderdale County supervisors were asking the city for help as they applied for that same grant to build the center.

"We believed that it would be better that if the city was going to commit the majority of the money that the city should apply for the grant since it would be inside the city," says Council President, Dr. George Thomas.

If the grant is approved, city council members also voted to commit $750,000 to the project. Previously, the county committed a combined total of $300,000 in cash and in-kind work.

"It's in the city's hands. The Board of Supervisors supports this 100%, and we're just looking forward to receiving the money," says Lauderdale County Supervisor Joe Norwood, who represents District Four.

The plan is to build the proposed center in the area near Velma Young Park. City council officials stress that the center will provide activities for residents of all ages, and compliment the current Meridian Activity Center which is located within another part of the city.

"During the day we could have the same type activities there for another group of people who perhaps can't get to that present facility, and then in the afternoons, evenings and summer months, it'll be available for youth activities and children's activities which Mr. Hood with the Boys and Girls Club can coordinate out of there," says Dr. Thomas.

"It's going to give a lot of people some hope, and some opportunity for other programs in that community, and we're very happy for that," says Mayor Percy Bland.

The application deadline is May 16th. City officials hope to find out if the grant is approved by October.