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.