Velma Young Project: Creating Jobs?

Meridian Mayor Percy Bland says the city has received some good news from the governor.

Bland said a letter from Gov. Phil Bryant confirms Meridian will get a grant to help with constructing a new community center at Velma Young Park.

The $600,000 grant is coming from the Mississippi Development Authority. The city has pledged $750,000 in matching funds.

Bland says securing the grant was a joint effort.

"The Mississippi Development Authority has had the application on their desk and they reviewed it," said Bland. "East Central Planning (and Development) District to help us with the grant. We are just excited they reviewed it. We scored very high and we're ready to go through everything we need to do to go through the process to get started."

Meridian City Council president, Dustin Markham, calls the latest development historic. He says the center will benefit locals in many ways.

"We're going to be able to hire individuals from the housing authority," says Markham, "and surrounding areas to help build that community center. So, it's truly going to be a community center in Velma Young Park."

The city has also received other funds from the Boys and Girls Club, from Lauderdale County and the Meridian Housing Authority to meet the estimated cost for the project, which is $2 million. Bland projects that construction for the project will start during the first quarter of 2015.