The issue of what to do with Sweet Gum Bottom Road as it relates to the 1-20/59 Industrial Park project has been a hot topic for months, and now a major decision has been made. The Meridian City Council voted unanimously to close the road and to re-route it along West Malone Ranch Road for residents. “My biggest thing was to make sure I heard the residents out there and how this would affect them. So, I brought that back to the administration and the council. Overall, I think hearing from their concerns and the business standpoint, we found a middle ground. That’s where we are now, so, hopefully we can move forward from this,” said Ward 2 Councilman Tyrone Johnson.
Business leaders, such as EMBDC Chairman Archie McDonnell, said this is a major step in the right direction, specifically for the future of economic development in this area and the surrounding areas. “In order to attract big industry here, this park has the potential to do that. Nothing in this world is a guarantee, but it certainly increases the odds of a multi-county area for having some economic developments success, which we all want and need,” said McDonnell.
And while this is great for the business community, the residential community of this road is not completely satisfied. “They made promises that they couldn’t keep, and the reason why they couldn’t keep them is because they say they kept running into things that they were not told by people they were involved with. Well, they didn’t do their preparation. They should’ve looked into this more thoroughly, meaning that, being that it’s going to affect all these people,” said Marie Franklin who lives on Sweet Gum Bottom Road.
The residents were originally promised a temporary road before the closing of Sweet Gum Bottom Road, but now it will be within ninety days after the thirty days required to advertise for bids. They simply feel they were not involved. “We criticized the fact that it was brought to us at the last minute. You were rushing and rushing us to make a decision, and that was fine and dandy. However, we find out you really didn’t have an option after all,” said Sadie Martin who is also a resident on Sweet Gum Bottom Road. The paving and final touches of the new, re-routed road they are to receive is set to be finished by the spring of 2020.