Meridian approves “John A. Lomax Amphitheater”

Meridian City Council approved the dedication of the Meridian Amphitheater, honoring John A. Lomax.

Meridian City Council met to approve the dedication of the Meridian Amphitheater as the “John A. Lomax Amphitheater,” a nod to one of the most historic figures to come from the area.

Lomax was a pioneer folklorist and one of the first to travel the countryside, recording folk artists in an attempt to preserve the musical traditions of old using the latest technology of the day. He rigged a phonograph to record out of the back of his car and asked musicians to come out and play. He documented and recorded musicians for decades, with his work now stored in the Library of Congress. His idea to document an All-American anthology of music that was threatened by modernity is a legacy of the Lomax family today. He contributed more than 10,000 recordings to the Archive of American Folk Songs.

All branches have checked in and we are unanimously in favor. This is a significant honor for a man who led the way preserving thousands of pieces of our nation’s cultural expression, and Americans’ heritage.” -John A. Lomax III, speaking of the Amphitheater name and dedication.

A dedication ceremony will be held September 19, 2020. Members of the family, including Lomax’s great-granddaughter, will possibly be in attendance. A musical performance for the event is still in the works.

Maintenance around town

The council also heard from President Don Hatley of the Meridian Parks & Recreation Department on leveling a drainage area near the old jail site. He plans to extend a tin horn to connect drainage and level a portion of the area out. The council moved to address the issue with next year’s budget.

The council heard a request from Meridian GrassRoots and Paul Hardcastle to maintain the small lawn area in front of the Meridian Senior Center. The decision was made to table the matter until specific details could be decided on.

Storage Containers and the Police Chief’s Report

The council approved Ordinance #20-0713 to adjust wording regarding accessory buildings, and specifically, storage containers. The council heard from those familiar with the issue, approving the requirement of a permit to house storage containers and large dumpsters for construction project. This only applies to residential lots, as the containers are more suitable for commercial locations. The permit would be for 45 days, and can be extended if work hits a snag. The permits would be posted on the container, eliminating confusion with code enforcement officers on behalf of the Meridian Police Department.

Meridian Police Chief Will Stevens said that code enforcement reports totaled 95 for the month, though officers have been issuing less citations. This is partially due to COVID-19. There have been less citations than last year, with no citations reported for the Fourth of July. Stevens has taken to many patrols himself lately.

“The shifts? I’ll pull them before they pull them.” – Stevens, speaking of putting himself on patrol before risking other officers’ health and safety with the COVID-19 crisis.

He’s looking to acquire a Dodge Charger for the department from the now-defunct Morgan Police Department. The vehicle has 45,000 miles on it, and would be suitable for Meridian patrols.

Water Meter Deposit Update and New Trash Receptables

Council members approved an in the security deposit for the use of bulk water meters by contractors. In the past, this has applied to fire hydrant lines that contractors use for construction. The cost of the hydrants to replace is typically at or upwards of $1,500 each. The increase would be to cover any costs related to replacing the meter in the event it was stolen or damaged.

City Administrator Marie Garland said that sales tax had increased from last year. Bids for the old jail doors and one commode was approved for sale at $110. Council members awarded the sole bidder the items for the cost.

Tammy Cameron of the Meridian Parks & Recreation Beautification Committee presented plans to update trash cans in public areas. The council approved the request to seek a grant for 15 trash cans at an approximate cost of $419 each, or $6,285 total. That approval allows Cameron and others to move forward in seeking the grants needed to cover the needed funding. The cans would be placed at Lions and Meridian parks, in addition to other frequented locations.

The council approved the nomination of Dana Williams for the absent seat left by John Kennedy’s move from the area. She joins others with the Meridian Parks & Recreation Board of Directors.
Jack Cameron noted that volunteers are sought Thursday, July 16, for another five palettes of sod at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater. Work begins at 6 p.m.

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