Some cities across our state and the world are known for their eye dropping views with water or hills in the background. Others are known for their casinos, restaurants, athletic venues, museums and other economic drivers that draw visitors to their site to spend time and money.
In Meridian, we have the Mississippi Children’s Museum- Meridian, the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience and the Jimmie Rodgers Museum to entertain, educate, and tell great stories of both our local and state talent.
We have one of the most featured state parks in Mississippi in Bonita Lakes and we have arguably the most famous high school football stadium in Ray Stadium.
But, alas, even with all of this, something was sorely missing-our heart and our vibrance-that feature that makes a place come alive.
For over 25 years, we have not had the Crown Jewel of our Great City operative. Built in 1929 and opening in April of 1930, the Threefoot Building once stood as the tallest building in the state of Mississippi — in a city that was once the capitol city of Mississippi.
A lemon, an eyesore, a dilapidated structure-it stood tall in the middle of downtown as both a reminder of what once was, and what could be.
Prior city leaders had both the vision to rehab it into a thriving hotel, and also the heart to tumble it to the ground.
All great cities, teams, and organizations have a culture, a code, a core, a “thing” for which they are known or which sets them apart from all others.
For years, this writer and citizens of Meridian forgot the “thing” for which we are known and the “thing” that truly sets our city apart.
Today, that crown jewel is back. She is back as an epic hotel in a now-bustling downtown with new businesses, a brewery, new restaurants and monthly festivals.
The Threefoot Hotel is an awesome hotel with an outstanding developer in John Tampa, from Buford, Ga.
Tampa believed in the energy, the vision and the momentum that was brewing in Meridian, and invested his money, talent and time to bring this jewel back to an otherwise dying city. Today, this hotel will not stand as the tallest building in the state of Mississippi; nor is Meridian still our state capitol.
But today, the Threefoot Hotel by Marriott stands tall overlooking the entire city of Meridian and letting all of her people once again know what once was, and with teamwork and a shared vision, of what could be.
I'm glad the developer, my team, the Threefoot Society, and other leaders and staff at both the state and federal level continued to work around the obstacles and challenges to make this dream a reality.
And, I would be remiss to not pay special tribute to Amos Jones, who until his death, was key holder to the building and helped to keep the vision for its revitalization and significant place in Meridian’s history alive.
Come and visit our core – come visit our city. Book your room today, and stay at the historic Threefoot Hotel by Marriott in downtown Meridian.
Percy Bland was mayor of Meridian from 2013-2021.