Threefoot Announcement Omits City

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

A national headline-making announcement that Meridian's Threefoot Building was placed on an endangered list by the National Trust for Historic Preservation did not include an invitation to the building's owner.

Former mayor John Robert Smith was conspicuously present for the announcement. Current Mayor Cheri Barry was conspicuously absent. She says she wasn't invited. So what's going on here?

Because the city of Meridian is the owner of the Threefoot Building, Barry said she believes it was only appropriate for her and city council members to be included in the announcement.

Barry says she is very dedicated to seeing the Threefoot property have a future life, but she says this isn't the way to do it.

"It doesn't matter how this was initiated," said Barry. "The fact that it was and without the permission or guidance of the mayor's office and council, and I think it is inappropriate. The citizens have given me a right to protect their resources."

The director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, David Preziosi, said Thursday by phone that his organization was responsible for creating the invitation list. He says the mayor was not intentionally slighted, but that in retrospect, inviting the property owner would have been a good idea.

"I feel like we were deliberately left off the guest list because I have been in favor of saving it, but not under the same structure set up by the past administration," said Barry.

Barry says she was told by a representative of the Mississippi Heritage Trust that the group had been working with an individual in Meridian to organize the event.

At this point, the mayor says she isn't concerned with the details, but is concerned that the community doesn't seem to be working together.

The mayor said she doesn't think this sends a good message to the rest of the country.

"We cannot do this with people going off on different agendas and not staying behind the 8 ball in making the best decisions for the people of Mississippi," she said.

Barry says she is currently working with private developers to try and find a future life for the property.

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