Study Reveals Solid Support for MAEC

Meridian, Miss. A new feasibility study for the proposed Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center found strong support from Meridian area leaders.

The MAEC was approved to be build in Meridian more than a decade ago. The site has been changed from Bonita Lakes to Front Street downtown.

Before going any further, the center's board wanted to see if the community still supported the project, so it commissioned a study to measure public sentiment.

MAEC board members say it's an extremely encouraging report.

"This is a statewide project," said executive director Marty Gamblin. "But before we launched it statewide, we felt like we had to test the water in Meridian and Lauderdale County, because this is going to be the area that's going to benefit the most by this. So we wanted to see just what the climate was."

Gamblin says the board hopes to finish the local financial campaign for the project by the first of 2014 and then go statewide with fundraising. The board would like to begin construction work within the next 14-16 months.

Confidential interviews were conducted with 64 corporate, business and community leaders in March and April. The
findings were:
84% support the proposal for the center
95% said they're familiar with it
99% said they consider the center's leadership effective