New Police Department on Hold

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Cost overruns on one city project have put another project in jeopardy.

The Meridian City Council approved a $10 million bond issue four years ago to pay for the renovation of city hall and the building of a new police department.

But new Mayor Cheri Barry says the cost of city hall has already well exceeded that money, leaving nothing for police department construction.

The mayor says building a new police station is a priority of hers and new Police Chief Lee Shelbourn.

But because there is no money for it, Barry said plans to look for other resources to get the project started. She plans to use a team of city grant writers to try and pull together funds.

Along with not having the money, Mayor Barry says the location selected by the previous administration hasn't been purchased by the city and she isn't sure it is the best location anyway.

As for city hall, in the end, Barry said she believes it will total around $16 million to $18 million in renovation costs. Work is expected to wrap up in another 20 months.

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  • by Michelle Location: meridian on Oct 6, 2009 at 08:29 AM
    Dan, you're absolutely correct. The PD building has been nasty for a long time and something must be done. The working conditions are atrocious. Testing for officers should be stringent, and be written, not oral, so that intelligent, literate people will be hired. Meridian has more public housing than any other city in the state. Instead of bulldozing old housing projects and building shiny new ones to get trashed, STOP after the bulldozing step. The less free housing is available, the less desirable it will be for welfare freeloaders to live here. Mayor Barry has her work cut out for her. Let's support her efforts and give her a chance to clean things up. Meridian didn't get in this shape in 3 months, it's going to take a while to clean it up and fix it.
  • by FBI Location: Meridian on Oct 6, 2009 at 07:22 AM
    Of course its not Mayor Barrys fault. This run down city was ran down in the last 16 years by JRS. This town is the effect of a RE-active administration. I certainly believe that Mayor Barry is PRO-active and she is going to do a fine job! Only time will tell but i am confident in her and her staff!!!
  • by ED Location: MERIDIAN on Oct 6, 2009 at 03:46 AM
    ok fact on the table.. it is the the whole dang bunch of them over the last yrs in charge that messed this all up.. this was a joke from the start but all had to keep what is there because its the past.. cant tell me that no engineer didnt see this in the mess... i know they said forget it rebuild but had to keep the past I REMEMBER ALL THE YIP TO SAY CITY HALL AND 3 FT.. now we have a mess and i will bet more that was hidden will come out in the wash
  • by Anonymous on Oct 5, 2009 at 01:23 PM
    You can't blame the projects and the cost overruns on Mayor Barry this time. This happened under the previous mayor and city council. Those people are accountable. I think she's just trying to stop the bleeding. But she will be limited to what she can do about city hall. That project is so far along, it has to be finished. The new police station has been needed for at least 20 years and maybe longer. Other mayors and council persons put that off long before Barry came on the scene. Let's hold her accountable for HER record as mayor, not someone else's.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 5, 2009 at 01:08 PM
    Its not just the mayor, all had to be approved by Council,, All of the old council needs to go...They are the ones responsible.. the mayor can not spend money unless the council approves the budget..... Go figure.....
  • by FBI Location: Meridian on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:47 PM
    If Meridian could get a new police station I'm positive that the police officers would have a pro-active outlook and work harder. Our police officers need to make Meridian an undesirable place to live for criminals! Its a give and take and right now noone is giving the Police Department anything! Give them guys and girls a new station and let them clean Meridian up. Criminals should not desire to live in Meridian but they do!
  • by Cemeteryfreq Location: Meridian on Oct 5, 2009 at 11:18 AM
    A Police Station will have to be built; Just not the outlandish building that was first drawn up. City Hall had so many unforseen problems, it ate up a lot of money. Don't blame Cheri Barry for it. Don't blame JRS for it. They both had/have good intentions for the City.
  • by rff Location: Meridian on Oct 5, 2009 at 09:17 AM
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the city hall project the "doings" of JRS. I'm not taking up for Barry. Money should be allocated, somehow, for the police building. As for city hall... it is nice. There is no denying that, but the state of the police department, just from the outside, is pitiful. I can't imagine how bad of shape the interior is in... The PD would seem to be of higher priority, from a citizen's point-of-view, than a revamped city hall. I look at even Laurel's law enforcement complex, and wonder why Meridian's police department is still housed in that building. A new police HQ is long overdue for the city. The new administration needs to find a way to do it. I know it's easier said than done, but it should have been done before an elaborate, very expensive CH renovation.
  • by concerned citizen Location: north meridian on Oct 5, 2009 at 08:36 AM
    with having the stimulus package and monies approved, when is the new mayor going to to hire the five new patrol officers that we so desperately need. To my knowledge the other counties have already started the hiring process.
  • by MommyDearest Location: Meridian on Oct 5, 2009 at 07:09 AM
    If Ms. Berry would focus more on actual task that need attended to other than putting her puppets in place, we may be better off. Stop playing puppet master and do the job you promised you would do. Pull out you shovels people, we are going to have to dig ourselves out of this rutt she is going to put us in.
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