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Hitt wants board to take another look at Lover's Lane site for strays

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Feb. 16, 2001
Lauderdale County District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt wants to lease land and buildings at a proposed Lovers Lane recreation site to the Humane Society.He plans to visit the site today with Humane Society organizer Cheryl Walton.
Hitt said the funds were budgeted because Lauderdale County has been giving the city of Meridian money each year to take stray animals. When Meridian's shelter was filled late last year, it stopped taking county animals. Lauderdale County would have to help fund a shelter expansion and pay increased funds of at least $30 per animal if Meridian's shelter resumes taking county strays.
Hitt said some of the money could still go toward animal control.
Supervisors rejected Hitt's request to let the Humane Society use the Lovers Lane site last week after District 4 Supervisor Q.V. Sykes discussed it with a supervisors' recreation committee.
They offered the use of another county building instead. They said a metal building that had been taken apart and was being stored could be reconstructed at another site they want to lease to the organization.
Sykes said the recreation site land and its buildings would be used for recreational purposes only.
Earlier this week, board president Jimmie Smith said he asked county engineer Neal Carson to look at the metal building and let him know if it could be used.
Hitt said he talked with Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Mark Naylor and engineer Terrell Temple before suggesting the site's use for an animal shelter. He said both told him they could foresee no conflicts.
Naylor will oversee the site once the baseball field is complete, because Meridian officials will be responsible for maintenance and operations, Hitt said.
He said the building is perfect for the Humane Society because it could be used to house large animals. He said it "makes no sense" not to use the available buildings and may ask supervisors if the building can be used temporarily since the ball field is not expected to be completed until 2002.
Naylor said that part of the site is "out of the way" but "the sheds are close so it would be nice for storage." He said the large one would probably suffice for storing equipment for the Lovers Lane ball field and other city recreational facilities.
The other proposed site has timber that would have to be cut. The site would have to cleared and graded which could take more than two months. The building would then have to be built.
If the Humane Society could use the existing building at Lovers Lane, it could be in operation in a month.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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