MERIDIAN — Special to the Star
The Meridian Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with the property owners of the Fielder & Brooks COFO Building have authorized the demolition of this historic building.
The property owners and the city have worked to find ways to revitalize the building and make it structurally sound, according to a statement from Mayor Percy Bland. Unfortunately, he said, recent studies demonstrate that the building cannot be saved and that demolition is the only practical recourse available.
"The decision by the Meridian Historic Preservation Committee was not at all one it wanted to make," Bland said. “In conjunction with property owners, it is the city’s intention to develop a plan to memorialize the site so that no one will forget the sacrifices of those that worked for progress in racial equality from the Fielder & Brooks COFO Building.”
“I want to make it very clear that I have made every possible effort to preserve the COFO building. Its historic significance means a lot to the city of Meridian and the African American Community," Bland said. "However, the building is private property and had already deteriorated tremendously well prior to any efforts of this administration. Furthermore, I am committed to working with the property owners to memorialize this site and preserving the legacy of its significance."
The property owners have received the necessary documents for demolition. In the meantime, the city has taken the necessary precautions to protect the public from harm due to the instability of the structure, Bland's statement said.