Meridian Star

May 10, 2013

Meridian Main Street receives accreditation

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Meridian Main Street has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street programs that have built strong revitalization organizations and demonstrate their ability in using the Main Street Four Point Approach methodology for strengthening their local economy and protecting their historic buildings.

    “We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for meeting our established performance standards,” said Valecia Crisafulli, acting director of the National Main Street Center. “Accredited Main Street programs are meeting the challenges of the downtown in the economy head on and are successfully using a focused, comprehensive revitalization strategy to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable.”

    The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by the Mississippi Main Street Association, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards.

    These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as developing a mission, fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking economic progress and preserving historic buildings.

    During calendar year 2012, downtown Meridian enjoyed significant positive change.  Eighteen new businesses were started, one business was expanded and 131 new jobs were created. There was $25 million in public sector investment reported and $6.8 million invested by the private sector.

    Nearly 3,800 volunteer hours were recorded.  And numerous festivals and promotional events took place downtown including Earth’s Bounty, Meridian Mardi Gras, Downtown – After 5 Alive, the Jimmie Rodgers Festival, State Games of Mississippi Opening Ceremonies, Juneteenth Celebration, 59-Twenty Festival, Children's Candy Crawl, and Merry Meridian including the Merry Meridian Market and Christmas Parade.

    Meridian Main Street, is a not for profit public/private partnership working in concert with others for the revitalization of downtown Meridian. Its mission has been defined as: to design, implement, and oversee a coordinated plan that will revitalize our community’s heart, its downtown.  

    Board president Kenny Watts stated that Meridian Main Street is a contractor to the city to provide management of the city’s Downtown Economic Development and Main Street programs.  

    “Both the staff and board of directors of Meridian Main Street have worked diligently to provide these services in a high quality, effective manner," Watts said. "Our success in validated by this certification by the National Trust's Main Street Center."