City Leaders at Odds Over Threefoot Project

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

A Meridian City Council work session Wednesday revealed a rift between the
council and Mayor Cheri Barry over the renovation of the Threefoot Building downtown.

It has been almost a year since the council voted by the slimmest of margins to approve the project.

A majority of the council apparently still approves of it. But Barry said Wednesday she is against proceeding with it.

Even though the city council makes the decision, it appears the project's future is still up in the air.

"Other than hear comments we've heard before, absolutely nothing was accomplished," said Ward 3 councilwoman Barbara Henson of the meeting.

If city council members hoped to have a decision when they left the meeting, they took home even more conflicting opinions. The city administration showed up firmly against the project, citing financial concerns.

"It's not that I'm against the project, it is the timing and the economics of our city," Barry said.

But at the same time many downtown stakeholders made their support known.

"I truly feel that we are making a huge mistake if we don't move on with HRI now," said downtown investor, Barbaree Heaster.

From the top, city attorney Bill Ready, Sr., said he's recommending that city leaders drop the project as soon as possible.

HRI Properties CEO Pres Kabacoff called the developments chilling, and said without the mayors support, it's hardly an ideal atmosphere for successful projects.

"My take is that the mayor does not support the project and without her support I don't think it will go forward," Kabacoff said.

But some city leaders still want to see the project move forward. Council president Bobby Smith says the hotel project has been approved and he plans to stick with the former council's decision.

"Sure, we'll be out a little bit of money, but we will be out of money if we tear it down," Smith said. "We will still be out millions of dollars. So I think we should just go with it."

A future meeting date hasn't been decided, but several council members say they want to get the issue resolved in coming days.

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  • by Jason on Apr 12, 2010 at 02:59 PM
    Maurice, there is a way to get the manholes level with the streets. We have risers for that. If you find a manhole that is too low, call and report it at 601-485-1976, don't just expect them to magically know everything. The city can't fix something that they don't know about.
  • by Huffy Location: Lauderhell on Dec 22, 2009 at 01:31 AM
    a wise man in a log cabin who nose meridian no longer needs ART once said to me:"set it on fire and let's watch it burn" now that's a party I'd love to see and maybe it'd consume the entire of the hole to Hades that is The "Queen" city...wok. you want city chicken or city beef or city shrimp noodle? BUT Bobby Smith is pullin' for it so I guess I am too, as I live in the county. why not go-head on and give them money loving root of all evil devil demons all the $$$6.66 blaze-zillion U.S. dollars they want? it ain't worth the paper it's printed on anyways 8^) Raymond E. "Huffy" Huffmaster jr. 9733 Extension Road Lauderdale Mississippi 39335-9601 601-604-3256
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:59 PM
    WOW!!!! evan your using the exact quotes the old mayor did as well as the HRI PR person used.... I wonder
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:57 PM
    btw Evan I agree with the call HRI project stopped... I lived in VA the same thing happened there as here set price by the time it was started the project increased several times... yes was built.. late and if it had failed would have bankrupted the city.... but then as i have seen here with them the same as there all they needed to find one looking for a ego trip needing this great project with his/her name on paper to look good get a high paying job... they get the job and the city is stuck with all the hidden mines of undisclosed parts of the contract.... point is yes taxes they bring the money in ....the trouble was most of the employees where min wage ,,,,in high paying jobs only HRI made the money ... like all the stores this old mayor brought in low wage.. but made him look good..
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 03:26 PM
    btw easy to find out the info called goggle type in HRI Properties lawsuits, breach of contract and toss in civil right suits .. like how people open mouth assuming the other is dumb or a fool..
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 03:23 PM
    this is just the start enough said
  • by Evan Location: Meridian, MS on Dec 21, 2009 at 01:05 PM
    Wow, this message board has some of the most ridiculous stuff I have ever seen. HRI does not have a history of "falling flat on its face". Look at their work in Richmond, VA, Jackson, MS, and New Orleans, LA. Why don't you do some research before you start making bogus claims. We need the Threefoot Building project to happen.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 19, 2009 at 03:40 PM
    Maurice that's HILLARIOUS!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2009 at 07:48 PM
    Marcus this is all understood the trouble is HRI has had a history of falling flat on its face always sounding great..but as things get going no forethought in part of the project.. this was raise at the council meeting more then once each time. to help companies is all great but you don't put money in a colander and expect it to hold water. This project is just that. the contracts were not open and every time you turned around was something new that wasn't disclosed. Yes we need businesses here but not this way.
  • by Marcus Location: Meridian on Dec 18, 2009 at 01:49 PM
    State and local governments use incentives to entice investors all the time. Such as The Bonita Lakes Mall! The Crossroads! Both projects involved bonds issued by the city as a part of the financing package that helped these projects to actually work! This sounds like the city involvement and financing of the Threefoot project doesn't it? That's because it is. State and local bonds and financing were also involved in the development of Nissan, Toyota, and all large scale projects of that nature. Why? Because companies like HRI do not have to come to the wonderful Meridian, Mississippi. They can go anywhere to invest, and they will if we run them out of town. I guarantee that many of you have used SBA loans to start your small businesses. These loans would not even be made if the government did not guarantee private lenders will be repaid in the event of a default. Therefore, if we don't engage in this project we will continue to fall behind and only see more job losses and stagnation.
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