Work begins at future Hobby Lobby site

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The much anticipated Hobby Lobby store is on its way. The final measure involving 16th Section Land was passed by the Lauderdale County School Board on Thursday. As of Monday, work to clear land had begun.

“We are very excited about the development and everything moving forward,” Mayor Percy Bland says.

Mayor Bland hopes Hobby Lobby, which sell thousands of building, decorating and creative items, will bring more shoppers into Meridian from surrounding areas.

“We know this development is going to cause more traffic flow to that area. That activity is what pushes all the businesses to succeed,” Bland says.

Bland hopes this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new stores appearing in the Crossroads area.

“When we first talked it was supposed to be about five or six box stores. Some things happened like a slight decline in the market. Some things changed with the deal,” Bland says.

Despite foregoing the original plan, Mayor Bland says they are looking forward to bringing in more stores to the project.

“What I pushed for at the beginning of this deal was a sporting goods place. We wanted that in the original package. We are still hoping for that to happen,” Bland says.

This is all part of phase 2 of the Crossroads project. Phase 1 was more than 10 years ago. Community Development Director Laura Carmichael says the city hopes to make sure this project has a steady pace.

“We just want to make sure we walk with them every step of the way to make sure they get everything they need in a timely manner. To work with them through the process,” Carmichael says.

There is no official timeline for the opening of Hobby Lobby, but city officials say a groundbreaking ceremony should take place soon.