The Meridian Star
Sometimes, preoccupied with the intensive search to bring large industrial prospects to our area, we can forget to pay attention to the progress going on right before our eyes.
For the past 10 years Meridian's downtown has continually grown. Old buildings have become apartments with more being planned, the Grand Opera House has been transformed into the MSU Riley Center, and our 98-year-old city hall is brand new again.
Weidmann's Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in the state, has been refurbished. More eating and entertainment establishments have opened and are staying busy.
Any given day motorists through downtown Meridian might spot MSU-Meridian students heading to, or coming from class, residents walking their dogs, children playing, friends visiting, or a couple enjoying a night on the town.
Longtime jewels continue to be polished up and given new life, like Soulé Steam Feed Works, now the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, home of an annual festival that grows every year, and a popular location for parties, receptions, and other events.
Thanks to the efforts of Meridian Main Street, the city, other sponsors and volunteers, downtown Meridian has become an active place with numerous events throughout the year. Popular art crawls have been held, the candy crawl at Halloween, free evening concerts at Dumont Plaza, Earth's Bounty Farmer's Markets, our Meridian Mardi Gras, Christmas and Martin Luther King Day celebrations and much more.
Meridian Main Street also is introducing its babiqrcrawl program to downtown. The name stands for Building and Business Inventory, plus QR, which stands for quick response codes, and the "awl" references the different crawls Meridian Main Street has sponsored. The program gives people with smart phones the ability to scan the codes being placed on downtown businesses, to receive information about the establishments. With empty properties a quick scan can give the interested person information on the realtor.
We look forward to seeing more improvements downtown, and with that, more life. Some of the possibilities include more two-way traffic, a new library, construction on the coming Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center, and a grocery store or market of some kind for the convenience of downtown residents, and some sort of resolution with the 16-story, 84-year-old Threefoot building that towers over all this amazing progress.