Lauderdale County supervisors have returned from a working trip to Washington. The purpose was to solicit support from Mississippi congressmen for several local projects. The first of those projects involves Lauderdale County purchasing the federal building in downtown Meridian.
"We'll take a donation," says Board President, Josh Todd. "We'll gladly take a donation, but we've actually offered appraised value, and we're hoping that that comes through. You know, you have the post office in there; we would love to have the post office as tenants. There's a couple of FBI agents, and we'd love to keep them also."
Todd says that Mississippi's Congressional delegation was supportive of this effort. Costing almost a half million dollars, he expects the county to find out if it can purchase the building from the postal service within the next few months.
"We'd love to move a couple of our court systems and offices over there," says Todd. "It would just free up a lot of space, and then when everything starts to come together on our bond issue - hopefully, when we start to redo our county courthouse - we'll have a whole lot more room over there also."
While in Washington supervisors also met with congressmen about: relocating a simulator to the air guard base in Meridian, securing funds to add another road near Hawkins Crossings and the former Handy Hardware building, and restoring jet service at Meridian Regional Airport. Although members of Congress talked very positive about the simulator request, Todd says supervisors will still have to wait to find out if action on any of their requests will be taken.
"We would love to know within the next couple of months, but as we all know government isn't the fastest. I hope within the next couple of months that we have answers."
As for the federal courtroom in Meridian, it closed two years ago. It was one of six to do so nationwide as part of a cost saving effort. Other federal courthouses which closed were in: North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, and Alabama.