LAUDERDALE CO., Miss. (WTOK) Thirty-nine acres of land that was once the Village Fair Mall in Meridian is now in the hands of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.
At its meeting Monday, the board approved advertising for bids to build a fence around the property
“We’re going to do the research, [County Administrator] Chris [Lafferty] will get those numbers; he’ll bring it back to the board and say, ‘these are the quotes I got, and this is how much it will cost to put a fence up,’” said District 1 supervisor and board president, Jonathan Wells.
The fence will help keep the public safe and to prevent people from interfering with work on the property.
“We’ve noticed that people are going onto the property on and off, and we’re concerned about people’s health and safety,. But we’re also worried about some liability there,” Wells says. “Eventually we’re going to be moving our equipment down there to work on demolishing that building, and we don’t want people going through our equipment, stealing batteries, or climbing on something and somebody getting hurt.”
The plan is to build a temporary courthouse on the property, while the current one undergoes renovations. The county is working on asbestos treatment right now.
“And then the rest of the property, being in an Opportunity Zone, which means [we can get] tax grants, federal tax grants,” Wells said. “We look forward to putting that property in the hands of private investors, restaurants, and hotels, whatever we can do to develop that area and get the county taxpayer dollars back.”
There is no set timeline to finish the project, but officials hope to be able to tear down the old building within the next year.
“It would be very optimistic to set a timeline at this time. We’re doing the asbestos treatment. We’ll have to put that out for bids, get that mediated, and after that, we’d like to start taking that building down,” Wells explained. “Optimistically, I would like to see us destroying that building, tearing it down, within the next 10 to 12 months.”
The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors purchased the property for $1.25 million.