Council votes to reroute Sweet Gum Bottom Road

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian City Council voted Tuesday to move forward with rerouting Sweet Gum Bottom Road. An economic development project tied to the property has been moving slowly, but now has a new timetable.

The main goal of this project is prepare the site for future economic use and attract industry. The road splits two pieces of property. By combining them, it would create roughly 500 acres to market, and hopefully, bring new jobs.

"When that is done our EMBDC leader, Bill Hannah, has a site to go out to promote, to market, and to sell to businesses that want to do business in Mississippi or east Mississippi. We as a community can get future jobs," said City of Meridian Mayor Percy Bland.

The cost of the project was originally estimated at $150,000. But the price is now at $500,000.

Local residents from the Sweet Gum Bottom area brought their concerns to the city council.

"Some promises were made on the front end. We won't close Sweet Gum Bottom Road until the Malone Ranch Road is completed. Other promises were the road may be $150,000 and it came to be a lot more. This is some of the information that the council was being told, so we we're making our decisions off the information that was given," said City Council President Tyrone Johnson.

"We made a commitment to that community and the citizens out there that we would reroute that road. They would have two options. One going on Highway 19 and the other option on Malone Ranch Road," said Bland.

Bland says this project will create job opportunities for the people of Meridian.

"I don't know how many jobs it's going to end up creating, but it’s more than what we have in Meridian, Miss., today," said Mayor Bland.

The projected completion date for the project is May 2020.