Mayor Bland Holds News Conference

Meridian, Miss. The Meridian City Council voted Tuesday night to rezone the 1800 block of 24th Avenue. Now that this is done, a developer is set to continue plans to build a Dollar General store there.

The site for the store is the corner of 18th Street and 24th Avenue. With construction expected to start by the end of this year, Meridian City Council president, Dr. George Thomas, says the store is expected to open by next June.

Mayor Percy Bland has high hopes that one of this area's largest industries will expand to areas that surround the store.

"It is a commercial area now. We are trying to do some things here to bring health-care businesses to that area with incentives that we're trying to put in place with our comprehensive health-care plan," says Bland. "So, we're going to be doing all that we can to bring specifically more health-care businesses into that area."

During a new conference Wednesday, Bland also discussed his plan of action to find a chief administrative officer. Part of his plan is to assemble a committee that has some individuals from the community who will assist with the search.

"Some of these things we will do discreetly because this will be a professional position, and if someone is leaving from another position we want them to feel comfortable before we bring them in and get them approved," says Bland.

During this process the mayor stresses that he and the city council will work together.

"Moving forward we will communicate better as it relates to whoever the choice is that's CAO, and I think that we will have a unanimous vote on who that next person will be," says Bland.

The mayor's plan is to have an appointee for the CAO position to bring before the council for confirmation within the next 60 to 90 days.

Meanwhile, Bland has named Interim Public Works Director, Hugh Smith, as the Interim CAO. His plan is to present Smith to the city council for confirmation for the director's position for the Public Works Department at the council's next meeting.