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Longtime businesses upset with plans for parking garage

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Oct 18, 2001
Two downtown business owners said Wednesday they were angry Meridian officials failed to say anything about plans to buy an entire city block for a new parking garage.
The block, bordered by 23rd and 24th avenues and Seventh and Eighth streets, is home to such longtime businesses as Jack's Sandwich Shop and Lawrence's Jewelry &Repair businesses that will have to close or move.
City leaders announced Tuesday that they will buy the entire block except for the new BellSouth building on the southwest corner for the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center parking garage.
The city will spend $487,000 for the land; the garage is expected to cost about $7 million. City officials said they have no time-frame for the construction, adding that final plans may not be ready for another nine months.
City isn't responsible
Maureen Lofton, assistant for governmental affairs for Meridian, said it isn't the city's responsibility to tell businesses about the purchase. She said it is up to the owners of the buildings to tell their tenants.
Johnny Pollman, who owns the building that houses Lawrence's and Jack's, could not be reached for comment.
Oglesby said she would like to have been contacted about the possible purchase of the building. Oglesby said if the building is sold, the shop probably won't survive.
Joe Chancellor, a loyal customer who has eaten at Jack's the past six years, said he would be upset to see it close
Owner wanted information
Lawrence Weldon, owner of Lawrence's Jewelry &Repair, said he also would have appreciated the city contacting him.
Other businesses had a different outlook.
Allan Stewart, president for Meridian's BankPlus branches, said officials are negotiating to buy the Southeastern Printing building at 22nd Avenue and Fourth Street across from Weidmann's.
BankPlus now has a branch on the northeast corner of the block that could become a parking garage.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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