Efforts are being made to establish a medical corridor in Meridian. Mayor Cheri Barry says the same developer who plans to convert a vacant building into apartments in downtown, is also making strides to develop the new corridor. The mayor says she's been working with the governor's office on trying to develop something of this nature for almost a year.
"The Medical Zone Act that the governor has put in place will give incentives to different medical and research businesses,' says Barry. "So, we're going to take full advantage of that."
Because it's still in the very early planning stages, Mayor Barry says there are very few details to offer at this time about the anticipated medical corridor.
'It'll be about 5 miles in the radius of all of our hospitals. We'll probably cut that down to two-and-a-half to three, but as we grow we can extend it out to five and possibly more.'
In conjunction with the medical corridor, Mayor Barry says Chartre Companies is also looking to redevelop some neighborhoods.
'Mr. Chapman is going to come in and look at different areas in our city and do some renovations and we're going to clean up some blighted areas.'
Those neighborhoods include the Highland Park, old Wechsler
School and Kate Griffin School communities. Mayor Barry says new housing units or housing communities could possibly be developed in those areas.
'Clarence's first project (the downtown apartments) will be about a $4.5 million project,' says Barry.' Some of the others could go well up into the millions because we'll be doing new, market-rate homes and tax credit homes for individuals in our community.'
Mayor Barry stresses that these projects are all being undertaken by a private investor. With work on the new apartments expected to start in March, she's hopeful that groundwork on the other endeavors will also start in a matter of months.
The company that's developing the projects is Chartre Companies, Ltd. It's based in Oxford, Mississippi, and owned by Clarence Chapman, who's a Meridian native.