Rebuilding the Frank Cochran Center

$4 million project to start in 2022
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 2:20 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - City leaders in Meridian reveal new plans for the Frank Cochran Center, which had been slated for repairs.

Mayor Jimmie Smith said the city council approved rebuilding the center at a meeting Tuesday.

“The building that got burned over a year ago. They just recently got the insurance money. They are going to repair it. What we looked at is if we are going to put $1 million in it – we could apply for a grant to see if we can rebuild it. This is what we are doing,” said Smith.

Mayor Smith said this is a $4 million project. $3 million will come from the East Central Planning Development District as a grant. The city will only put in $1 million for the project.

“They will supply 80% of the grant, and we will have to supply 20%. We are going to end up having a $4 million project for a million dollars. For every dollar we put in the project, we are getting three. I think it is a cost-effective asset to the community,” said Smith.

A local that I spoke with said that she is against the idea of building a new Frank Cochran Center.

“I don’t think it should happen. I think it should be a historical place for us as a city because it has been there for so long. They have many special events there where people came along like the Mississippi Picnic and other organizations using it for different things. I think it should stay that way. They should just remodel and go on as usual,” said local Laura Hooper.

The original plan was to repair the building after a fire caused damages to it. The city hired a contractor to do the repairs for $1 million. Smith explains why the initial plan did not work.

“We had a contractor that was going to repair the building. My understanding is because of material that he could not perform work within the price that he bided. We let the project go so we could apply for the grant,” said Smith.

The mayor said that construction is set for the beginning of 2022.

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