Meridian Star

June 29, 2013

Supervisors hear requests from Main Street

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
Special to The Star

MERIDIAN — County officials are reviewing budget requests from county departments and other agencies that seek funding.

    As part of an ongoing series of budget work sessions, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors is hearing from requests for funding.

    On Thursday, Meridian Main Street brought its request for $25,000 to the board, which is $5,000 more than it requested last year.

    Jim McGinnis, vice president of the Main Street Board of Directors said the last few years have seen more activity in downtown Meridian.

    "I think you would have had to spent the last few years with your eyes closed to not see all the good things that have been going on in downtown Meridian," McGinnis said. "They are certainly not all attributed to Meridian Main Street but I think we can take credit for a lot of the impetus that has produced these events."

    Those events include Earth's Bounty; Children's Fall Festival and Candy Crawl, Downtown after Five Alive; Merry Meridian, Meridian Mardi Gras, Children's Art Crawl, and BABI project, which launched earlier this year. BABI is a quick response code program in which information about downtown businesses can be quickly downloaded by consumers with the swipe of a smart phone.

    "The idea behind a lot of what we do, with the art crawls, these musical events, and Merry Meridian are to bring people into downtown Meridian, typically not during business hours," McGinnis said, "to revitalize the downtown area."

    Meridian Main Street is a public and private partnership. Last year it received $75,000 fro the city of Meridian, $20,000 from Lauderdale County Tourism; $5,000 from grants, $60,000 from sponsorships and memberships; $50,000 from events; and $30,000 from the Phil Hardin Foundation.

    Supervisors have not acted on any budget requests so far, but will do so later this summer as the final budget is prepared for adoption prior to the new fiscal year, which starts in October.