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Residents demand answers, relief
from creek woes

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 29, 2003
Ida Herrington hopes a state law and cooperation among Meridian and Lauderdale County officials will help her and her neighbors find relief from Gallagher Creek one of the city's main drainage canals.
Herrington and other residents along the creek met with county and city officials Wednesday in the latest effort to stop erosion of their property and eliminate what they say is a snake- and rat-infested hazard.
Herrington, whose 36th Avenue property backs up to the creek, even held a copy of a state law that says cities of more than 10,000 people including Meridian can clear drainage canals on public or private property.
Herrington and about 30 other residents asked the city council for help last week. Councilmen, however, told the group they couldn't do any work on the creek and suggested they seek help from the county.
City Councilman Bobby Smith of Ward 5 said if the city decided to repair one resident's creek problems, then they would have to repair all similar problems in the city a move that could bankrupt Meridian.
So Herrington and her neighbors who live near North Hills Street where the creek begins met Wednesday with Lauderdale County Supervisor Craig Hitt, county engineer Neal Carson and Meridian's assistant engineer Jason Gault.
The three personally inspected problems along the creek. Hitt, who represents District 3 and serves as president of the board of supervisors, assured residents that he cared about their problems.
Hitt even used a shovel in the back of his full-size truck to put a campaign sign in Herrington's front yard before he left. Hitt, whose district includes parts of Gallagher Creek, is running for re-election.
Until the repairs are made, Herrington said she and her group will continue to complain about the creek's problems.