It's All About Perception

A survey to measure local public opinion of the image of Meridian-Lauderdale County will not be fully released to the public until a later date.

But the East Mississippi Business Development Center's Image Committee chairman, Billy Estes, touched on some high points Thursday at a board meeting.

Among the findings, 80 percent or better of those surveyed said this is a good place to live and raise a family and to retire. Satisfaction with roads and cultural offerings were lower, but still above 60 percent.

"How we are perceived by visitors and how we are perceived by economic development clients is important. They need to realize we have a great little city here," Estes said.

Estes said the committee consulted with Meridian Community College in getting a statistical formula for the survey. He said volunteers spent hours each night on the phone for three to four weeks to conduct the survey.

Estes, who has lived here for two years, said he and other relative newcomers on the committee shared a common thread.

"All of us can tell you a story about what we were told when we were moving to Meridian by people in Meridian, and one of the things that was fed back to us was, we don't know why you want to move here," Estes said.

Estes says if those remarks came his way, they've been repeated to other people.

Officials say they hope the survey may reveal where a plan of action should be targeted to improve the image of the Meridian area.