Dollar General Controversy Update

Dollar General will not build a new store adjacent to the Poplar Springs Historic District. This decision comes after months of debate.

Dollar General changed its mind on the project, because it did not want to build in an area where the store was not wanted.

"I don't feel good about that," said Dr. George Thomas, Meridian City Council president. "Any time you tell a business that they can't build in the city and it's zoned properly for them to build, we lose jobs; we lose possible sales tax income. The property value probably would've gone up on that vacant lot. So, we lose possibly property tax, definitely sales tax and possibly jobs, and we need all three of those."

"I think it's a smart idea," said James Harwell, who has owned a home in the Poplar Springs District for nine years.

Harwell and others opposed to the store say they are happy about the decision.

"I don't think it's quite the right model that we're looking for," said Harwell. "I'd like to see, I think, as well as everyone else, something developed down there but not quite this project."

There is already a convenience store/gas station and pharmacy directly across the street from the site that was targeted for the Dollar General. There are other businesses within two blocks of the location.

"I see it as a loss for the city, but the fact that the neighborhood is getting organized and the neighbors are coming together, that's a positive," Thomas said.

Residents like Harwell say they just want to keep this historic district historic. In fact, in 2009 they say the Poplar Springs District was voted as one of the top ten places within the U.S. to buy an older home for an affordable price. That ranking was awarded by thisoldhouse.com.

Harwell says the historic character of the area is what convinced him to move back from Atlanta and buy there.

"Our contention is that there are thousands of people around the country who would do the same thing, because they want to live in a 100-year-old house in the south," Harwell said.

At this time Thomas says he has not heard of any plans for another store to locate at the former proposed Dollar General site.

In recent months, opponents of the Dollar General project have used a number of strategies to stop the construction. Aside from signs posted in yards, they also started an online petition. Another site just a few blocks away was blocked by the city.

Ward 5 city councilman Bobby Smith has proposed changing the district to a locally controlled one. This would require the city council to appoint officials to supervise any exterior property changes within that area.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by form of gov on Jul 19, 2012 at 01:08 PM
    Bobby learn what your function as an elected official is and is not.
  • by Out w/ the Old Location: N between Redline&PDS on Jul 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
    For too long this city has been overrun by the simple minded few I guess when our kids get older they can drive threw and see empty city blocks and what use to be or what could he been.. SM_H*****WAKE UP! !!!!PPL!!!!! OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW..... Meridian has been RUNDOWN!!!!By the same government officials for decades!!!! Now has for PSD now you guys can sit in your front porch and watch your precious NIEGHVOHOOD FALL in & Down!!!!! VOTE 4 Change Meridian.... bye bye council n adminstratiin
  • by United We Stand on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM
    Dollar General has indicated that they will not build, so that is a moot point. Regardless of what side you're on, this does show what people can get done by uniting for a common cause. I saw some of the things they did (petitions, yard signs, etc.), and it worked. Why can't some of the other communities do that as well? There is talk on the news about Red Line, East End, etc. Why don't these residents unite for the betterment of their communities? I'm not talking about meeting for a picnic (and the ever present free food and drink catch phrase) or playing games. Meet to plan what can be done to "take back the community". Plan to contact (in writing and in person) supervisors, the mayor, council members, etc. Plan how to work with the police department. All the other communities in Meridian are just as important as Popular Springs.
  • by Hates Meridian on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
    I agree with you, Philly. Try getting a job in this town, especially if you are a decent, older white person. I have been out of work for several years and no one will hire me. Go to any business and it's black people working. Go to a job interview and it's blacks, too. I am awaiting the day I haul butt out of this sorry town.
    • reply
      by Not Surprised on Jul 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM in reply to Hates Meridian
      Jack Nicholson as the Joker described Meridian when he said "this town needs an enema"!!!
  • by Jefferson on Jul 13, 2012 at 07:28 AM
    To PSD Supporter, to say that "the supposed $30,000 revenue is simply money that would otherwise have gone to Walmart,, Fred's, or Meridian Dollar Stores" is a non-provable statement. There are all sorts of decisions that go into purchasing and economics. It could very well be that the closer location of a shopping option to that neighborhood would cause people to spend more readily and more frequently. In other word, they would buy more products because they are more easily available. Your statement makes Meridian into a zero-sum economy, and in that world the only way for someone to make money is to take away from someone else. It excludes the concept of growth. If that's the case, why build any more of anything-not just Dollar stores but also car lots, hospitals, restaurants? Also, the PSD area could have seen more growth because of the additonal shopping option of Dollar General.
  • by rl on Jul 13, 2012 at 06:58 AM
    psd needs to b rentovated ! thats where the owners of the supposed historic district need to b fined for not fixing an keeping the district historic !! right now its just a high class slum !!
  • by philly Location: philadelphia on Jul 13, 2012 at 04:29 AM
    Meridian is a crap hole
    • reply
      by Not Surprised on Jul 13, 2012 at 06:45 AM in reply to philly
      Yeah, yeah, yeah, but does Philadelphia have an 8 million dollar parking garage that nobody uses, or an Ag Center with a dirt floor and no a/c, huh, huh, huh?? Oh wait!!!
      • reply
        by Peabody on Jul 13, 2012 at 02:20 PM in reply to Not Surprised
        It's an Ag-center what do you expect? Dirt floors and no a/c are a must have for horses and cattle.
        • reply
          by another voice on Jul 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM in reply to Peabody
          that's the point.... meridian is a great place for horses n cattle...it has an Ag mentality.
  • by Meridian supporter Location: Meridian on Jul 12, 2012 at 09:05 PM
    PSD residents have some serious delusions of grandeur! Please take an objective look around next time you drive down this street. Anyone that thinks this "historic" area of town is worth driving away business in Meridian is neurotic. Consider yourselves all personally responsible for the continued decline of Meridian, PSD residents.
  • by southerngentlemen on Jul 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM
    Seems like while other communities fight for new businesses, all ours does is work to keep them out. Average people too. Every year, the city population declines as people move to the county to escape the rats nest. The citys answer? Land grabs (multiple annexations) and higher taxes which runs even more from the area. What a joke. But at least they preserved the old run down pharmacy that the ex mayors sister has and the surrounding area that I wouldnt get out of my car at night in. Good job. Wouldnt wanting anyone destroying the beauty of that historic slum.
  • by win win on Jul 12, 2012 at 08:40 PM
    Let's see if I got this right, one side says people want to buy affordable 100 year old houses, so why not if it really could bring them down more by building jobs down the street from them? Thus attracting more home buiers.
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