Demolition Pending for MAEC Site

By the end of this year, officials say the old Hotel Meridian and former Montana's buildings should be demolished. Their demise will make way for Mississippi's new multi-million dollar Arts and Entertainment Center which will be built on the lots.

"They're going to tear it down and it's going to be a flat lot when it's all said and done," said Clay Holladay, publicity chair for the MAEC. "And they'll probably put some grass seed and something out to keep the dirt in check and make sure that we have a good appearance until construction begins."

Last summer, members of the MAEC board announced that the Hotel Meridian building had been donated for the project and that they had secured enough money to purchase the adjacent Montana's building. Prior to deciding to tear down the buildings, Holladay says the board explored all possible options.

"Due to the quality of the buildings and the function of them, because for instance the Meridian Hotel is much older, we feel it's best to tear the buildings down," Holladay said.

Once the buildings are down, construction can start on the center. However, with the design of the center still in the planning stage, Holladay says actually breaking ground for the building will have to wait.

"We're not operating on a flat date goal simply because we want to do it right," he said. "This is a big project. We don't want time to rule the design and creation process. We want that to happen so we can put out a wonderful center."

The next meeting for the center's board is the first week in September. At that time the group will formally approve a company to tear down the buildings. From that point the company will have 90 days to get it done.

So far, $4 million in state funding has been secured for the project. The remaining funds needed will be raised through private and corporate donations, along with other state and federal funding.

The initial estimated cost for the project was between $15 million and $18 million. However, with it still in the planning stage, officials say that could change.

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  • by Public Servant on Aug 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM
    I understand what DONATE means. Yes, on paper it is coming from sources other than the city budget. If you think this won't cost the city any money, your either uninformed or in denial.

    How much has been spent on City Hall that wasn't originally slated? Again, if I am fighting fire in my gear with holes and tears and start to get burned, I will draw on the lovely view of my new city hall or arts center for strength.

    Take care of your workers, police, fire, water department, etc....and then do this kind of stuff. 8.21 people. Thankfully, I am doing this to serve my city, bc I would be better off financially on welfare and food stamps. True story.

  • by Kim Location: Meridian on Aug 19, 2011 at 05:18 PM
    Maybe the Threefoot Building will be the next to go.
  • by chuckles Location: lauderdale county on Aug 19, 2011 at 02:51 PM
    It will be just another boondoggle that benefits a few and will never make Meridian the cultural mecca that we have been promised. People around here need jobs, jobs that pay a decent living. The Riley center is nice, but few can afford tickets to the events on the scab wages that are paid here.
  • by Harold Location: Meridian on Aug 19, 2011 at 01:16 PM
    It's sad to see that building go down. I'm afraid what's going to happen is that the hotel will be demolished and then there will be an empty lot there collecting trash for years because the project falls through. They should leave it alone until everything is finalized, money is in hand, and they are ready to go. This way in case nothing happens, maybe (just maybe) someone else could come along and renovate the Hotel. Furthermore, I hope they've considered the fact that the old hotel has "FIREPROOF" painted on the back. That means it's probably full of asbestos, and it costs alot of money to clean that up.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 19, 2011 at 01:15 PM
    The money is coming from STATE funds not CITY funds, rest from PRIVATE funds. That means, the city is not paying for it. The 4 mil is not city money. The word donate means given to not bought. This will bring more tax revenue on the location and people coming to see it than one empty building and one half empty building would.
  • by crazyness Location: home town meridian on Aug 19, 2011 at 01:07 PM
    OMG we live in the crazies town. Public Servant men and women, cops, fire fighters, EMT workers all of which have to work 2 and 3 jobs just to pay a house note and feed the kids, and meridain wanting to build an ART center, come 0n people look around this place, drive down 18th street, and down some other city streets, pot holes after pot holes. our fireman go to work at 8.00 an hour. what is wrong with you people. wake up meridian. spend our tax money on important things once all the important things are finished then build an art center. crazness. its called living up to the JONES. and not giving a rats *** about the people living in town but wanting to keep up our image.
  • by ds Location: meridian on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM
    Cleaning up 22nd Avenue would be a good thing for Meridian or any town whose mail avenue into town looks like this one does. We also need to clean up 8th street. It too is a main thoroughfare into town and projects a very dirty and negative appearance of an otherwise progressive community.
  • by PublIc Servant Location: Meridian on Aug 19, 2011 at 08:53 AM
    Are you serious? Like anyone else who wants to see Meridian grow as a city, I welcome improvements. But how does this make sense?

    I am a firefighter for the Meridian Fire Department, and I make $8.21 an hour. My department has not seen a single raise or cost of living increase in YEARS. My mayor cites "lack of money" as the reason.

    But we can make a budget for this? Replace lightpoles using underground service because they are more pleasing to the eye?!

    Why not invest some in your city civil servants? Do you really wonder why turnover is so bad right now? Wait...atleast if I can't afford to pay my mortgage, I can walk here and see some Art!!!!
  • by cw on Aug 19, 2011 at 07:45 AM
    it seems to me that if an establishment can afford this kind of money to construct this kind project they are charging to much whether it be over billing or over taxing this kind of waste is why there is so much debt.
  • by lcrez Location: lc on Aug 19, 2011 at 07:38 AM
    This will be great addition to Downtown Meridian. When you begin to see the pieces come together for downtown you will see that this is a good plan. The State Games brings a lot of money to this area. MAEC will do the same. Meridian is on the road to many places. We need to clean up the entire 22nd Avenue corridor ushering people into our downtown area. Mayor Barry has come great ideas. Good to see the new Police Station project is underway. If you do not believe in this town then support another one. I happen to think that Meridian has a great future if we don't think negative all the time. I don't know too many people who really don't know where their next meal is coming from. (Hope they are not wasting their meal money on non-essentials). Are you really living off of $694.00 a month. What kind of job pays that? Is that because you are not working? Unemployment? Unemployment is to help you find a job, not to live on. If you could live on $694 a month, how many people would really want to work and provide for their family? There are jobs. But you've got to be willing to work everyday. MAEC will bring additional jobs and income to this area. (May I suggest a spell check program for you? Wright or right?) Oh! By the way, Manny Mitchell donated the Meridian Hotel and money was donated to buy the old Montana's restuarant to even get this project started. There are people in this community that still believe in Meridian.
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