New director of community development takes over | Local News

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Craig Hitt is no stranger to Meridian. Born and raised in Lauderdale County, he has managed a successful lumber business, served on the Lauderdale County Board of Directors and recently worked with the Kemper County Economic Development Authority.

Today, Hitt takes on a new challenge as the new Director of Community Development for the Town of Meridian.

Community development plays a big role in Meridian. In addition to managing the parking garage, Union Station and other properties, the department handles building inspections and code enforcement, works with event organizers on permits and public safety and coordinates with businesses wishing to open or expand in the Meridian area.

Hit said the department has a lot of moving parts, and getting up to speed is one of his first goals.

“In all honesty, I’m still learning some of this,” he said last week. “There are a lot of things in this department. “

Community development requires a lot of cooperation and coordination with other city departments, Hitt said. Events require coordination with law enforcement for security, parks and recreation for supplies, public works for utilities, and communication with administration to ensure everyone is on the line. same page.

“There has to be a lot of coordination across the city whenever we have an event,” he said.

But events are only a small part of what community development does. As part of his vision, which is shared by the administration, Hitt said his department’s primary focus will be to clean up downtown Meridian and promote growth for businesses and residents.

“You still want to develop your city,” he said. “I think this administration is focusing on small businesses, especially downtown, and then our other commercial sections of the city to facilitate the growth of new businesses as much as possible, as well as the expansion of existing businesses. “

With today’s technology making a library of information just a few clicks away, Hitt said business owners can find out a lot about a city before they even start talking to community development. This advantage makes it even more important for the city to have a clean and welcoming community to present to potential new businesses.

“They are doing their homework, and with the technology we have today, they can discover just about anything they want to discover,” he said. “So I think it’s important for us to be presentable from the start so that when someone starts looking, they see a well-maintained community and people who are excited about what’s going on in their community and show a open door for new Opportunities. “

Hit said community development works with landowners to fix dilapidated buildings and clean up abandoned properties. The department also keeps in touch with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, community organizations, and historic preservation groups to bring additional resources and voices to the table.

The initial focus of the cleanup is downtown, Hitt said, but the goal is to expand the effort to other areas of the city to address issues and create opportunities across the city.

As he settles into his new role, Hitt said he encourages residents to contact his department to share their thoughts and ideas on the growth of the town of Meridian.

“We are here to serve the people of the city,” he said. “We have a great staff who know very well what they are doing and what needs to be done. So I encourage people to contact us and let us work with them to get an idea or seek to develop the community.


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