Meridian, Miss. According to Mayor Percy Bland, the city of Meridian is making progress in its effort to develop a comprehensive plan to attract more healthcare based companies to Meridian. Once the plan is in place it will help the city take advantage of benefits from the Medical Zone Act that has been put in place by Governor Phil Bryant.
Currently, the city of Meridian is working with both Anderson Hospital and Rush Hospital, Mississippi Power, Atmos Energy, Meridian Community College, and MSU Meridian to raise funds for a study that would help develop the comprehensive plan.
"We will all provide money for this study, and we'll all promote this study; it will then provide tax incentives for businesses that have grossed more than $10 million a year, and have at least 25 employees," says Curt Goldacker, who is the Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Meridian.
The estimated cost for the study is between $120,000 and $130,000 dollars. Goldacker says so far at least half of that has been raised. Ultimately, he says the benefits will be far reaching.
"For example, you have vendors who come in and literally supply both hospitals with pharmaceuticals, uniforms and food, why can't the distribution points be here? It would literally help them and help us, instead of bringing things in from Georgia, Alabama or Tennessee, and shipping all of this stuff in."
As for the proposed medical corridor for Meridian, Goldacker says it would include a five mile radius around both hospitals.
"This study would be done by the end of the year, going into the spring and be able to promote and bring those opportunities here next year."
Within its first year Mayor Bland says he's optimistic that the comprehensive plan will create at least 75 to 100 new jobs in Meridian. Providing more than 6,000 jobs, the healthcare industry is Meridian's overall largest employer.