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Harper begins learning the ropes in District 1

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 28, 2003
On Wednesday morning, one day after winning the Republican runoff election for Lauderdale County District 1 supervisor, Eddie Harper held his first business meeting.
Harper sat down with Wade Jones, president of East Mississippi Business Development Corp., and Terrell Temple of Engineering Plus to discuss possible improvements to Meridian's Phil Hardin Park.
Harper said the city is putting some money toward "revamping" the park and the county may also. Other meetings are being scheduled. He said he will spend time soon with county administrator Rex Hiatt, county engineer Neal Carson, and the board of supervisors' attorney, Rick Barry.
He said he has been talking to supervisors as well and that outgoing District 1 Supervisor Hank Florey, who chose not to seek re-election, has pledged to help all he can with the transition.
Harper will be working to fit his top priorities in with the existing board's agenda.
From early on in his campaign, Harper said economic development is his top priority, followed by establishing a better working relationship among area government agencies. Drainage problems are also a top concern.
Alternates are being considered to build a new interchange near Hawkins Crossing in Meridian for better access to the I-20/59 Industrial Park. A draft location report has been submitted to the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for review.
A report from the engineering firm, Kemp Associates, reported in The Meridian Star last week, suggests county regulations were not followed adequately in the development of the Eagle Pointe subdivision where millions of dollars in flood damage occurred in April.
The report also suggests that Eagle Pointe homeowners team up with flood victims in other parts of the county and appeal to the board of supervisors and EMBDC for assistance. It recommends that FEMA conduct a new flood insurance study for the entire county, because the federal agency appears to have old data.
On a personal note, Harper and his family are moving out of their house this week and into an apartment, where they will stay for about six months while their new house is built on a lot adjoining their current home in Bailey.