New Web Site Showcases Downtown Buildings

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The city of Meridian has a new resource to show everyone exactly what it has to offer downtown.

The city has begun a new Web site that catalogs and showcases all the buildings in the downtown area, those that have been renovated and those that haven't.

Officials say they hope the site will help history buffs and people interested in restoring some of those buildings.

Behind the walls every building has a story...and now digging deep into that history has become easier.

"We call it the historic resources database," said senior planner Randall Gaither. "Basically it just covers all of the historic buildings that are on the national register in downtown Meridian.

So now clicking on the city of Meridian Web site is just about as good as taking a walk through the downtown Meridian streets. You can find who built them and what style was used, all by a click of a mouse.

Community leaders have been told by the state that Meridian has the largest collection of turn-of-the-century commercial buildings in Mississippi. But with every day that goes by, many of the structures are in peril.

"We have lost several since then. We will lose more," Gaither said. "This will serve as a benchmark in time to show where we are today."

The hope is that with more information readily available for developers, the chance of saving some of these buildings is higher.

"By getting the basic info out to as many folks as we can in the most economic way, which is the Internet, it will catch the interest of those who have financial resources and love in their hearts to save some of these buildings that otherwise might not be saved," said Gaither.

Gaither says there is still plenty of information to gather. And he's asking local residents to pass along any memories of the downtown area that may come to mind.