Meridian Star

Local News

November 18, 2009

Working together

to improve the community

With three organizations — the Alliance for Downtown Meridian, Meridian Main Street, and the Meridian Downtown Association — all working to help downtown Meridian grow, there has been some confusion as to which group does what.

Since all three of those groups work under the same roof and even share some staff members, it's no surprise that people have trouble differentiating the groups from one another.

To explain what each group does — how they are different and how their goals intertwine — representatives from all three spoke recently with The Meridian Star.

Even sorting out their titles was confusing. Larry Jones is the executive director of the Alliance. Kenny Watts is the president of the board of the Alliance, and the past president of the Association. Michelle Pearson is a member of the Association, and also serves on the board of the Alliance. Amy Reede is the manager of Meridian Main Street, but is an employee of the Alliance.

A little hard to follow, right? Part of what makes it so confusing is this: though each group is a separate entity with separate goals and separate funding, they all fall under the umbrella organization of the Alliance.

"We're completely separate organizations, but we all work together for the enhancement of downtown Meridian," Pearson said. "Our job is to make downtown a better place to live and work. We all have different ways of trying to achieve that, but we work together."

Each group has its own specific goals and duties for downtown and its own source of funding:

Alliance for Downtown Meridian

The Alliance promotes downtown development and historic building restoration. It has been designated as the city's downtown economic development program, and is funded partially by the city. But its primary source of funding, Jones said, comes through donations from major downtown businesses.

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