Meridian Star

Editorials

March 29, 2006

Arts and Entertainment Center gets a boost

The proposed Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center, on life support for a few years because of an apathetic state Legislature, is breathing again.

Lawmakers allocated $4 million for the Bonita Lakes facility in a $192 million bond bill passed late Tuesday night. The funding has strings attached — and is only a fraction of the estimated $69 million needed for completion of the complex. But it’s a start. And importantly, for the first time since state officials chose Meridian as the site of the facility several years ago, the Legislature has paid more than lip service to the need for an Arts and Entertainment Center to showcase Mississippi’s rich musical and artistic heritage.

The bond legislation stipulates that $8 million in private money be raised for the project before the state disburses its $4 million. Such a provision may have been necessary to gain the support of Gov. Haley Barbour, who must sign the bond bill in order for it to become law. Still, we are compelled to remind Barbour and lawmakers that it was state government, not Meridian, that conceived the Arts and Entertainment Center as a statewide hall of fame and museum complex. Curiously, it has since been recast by lawmakers as a “local project” that should be built primarily with non-state funds, thus the $8 million match requirement.

Raising $8 million is a tall order, but this community and other supporters of the Arts and Entertainment Center should approach the task with much zeal and enthusiasm. The center’s potential is enormous, and East Mississippi’s economy would be one of the primary beneficiaries. Think of the thousands of tourists from around the world who would visit a shrine to such musical greats as Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Faith Hill, to name a few. An adjacent amphitheater at the beautiful Bonita Lakes site would be a terrific venue for outdoor performances by big-name acts.

Radio and television personality Paul Ott and other members of the Arts and Entertainment Center board will have primary responsibility for raising the $8 million in private funds. But they will need lots of help. The good folks of Meridian and East Mississippi should be among the first to volunteer their services.

1
Text Only
Editorials
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

New federal data show Mississippi received 179 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border this year. Gov. Phil Bryant wrote to President Barack Obama demanding the president pre-announce plans to send immigrants to Mississippi, saying Mississippi would block transports. Do you agree with Bryant?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide