MAEC Acquires Location Site

Officials say it will be the site of the future MAEC, but officials said a decision of whether to tear it down and rebuild or renovate the property has not been made.

The board said it intends to hire an architect with the next 60-90 days.

"We think it will have a great economic impact, because this is a state museum and certainly the state, Mississippi Development Authority, tourism, everybody will be advertising and supporting it," said Tommy Dulaney, president of the MAEC board of directors.

Manny and Melanie Mitchell of Meridian have also donated the adjacent property, the former Meridian Hotel.

"The possibilities are just limitless for children to take their yearly train ride, which we know all the kids do on Amtrak," said Melanie Mitchell. "By extending the covered walkway here, they can walk right to our museum and experience all the wonderful interactive, educational things that will be at the museum."

"This will spark all different kind of businesses because we are now the Arts and Entertainment District for the state," said Mayor Cheri Barry.

Officials said the MAEC has $4 million in seed money, but the project would cost an estimated $15 million to $18 million to complete.

Officials say the museum will be state of the art with interactive hologram technology, where patrons can actually sing with noted Mississippi artists.

With a projected date to open in 2013, board members say additional plans are in the works to possibly incorporate the Jimmie Rodgers Museum with the center, and perhaps still build an amphitheater at Bonita Lakes.

The history of the MAEC goes back to 2001 when the Mississippi Legislature approved its establishment. Four years later, Hurricane Katrina hit, stifling the economy and slowing progress on the facility.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Erin Location: Meridian, MS on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:54 PM
    Please, we really need to save the Threefoot building.
  • by Kay Location: Meridian on Jul 28, 2010 at 02:28 PM
    All for the Arts and Entertainment project. I do however wonder if maybe it could have been located in the Threefoot building, since it is a historic landmark and since they are probably going to tear the Montana building down anyway, why not use the Threefoot building and get it remodeled in the process? The Threefoot building is a historic landmark and is worth saving!
  • by Observer Location: Meridian on Jul 28, 2010 at 01:54 PM
    Anybody else ever notice how when something good is happening downtown, it always awakens and brings out the CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) people? A poster on the Weidmann's article actually posted that in this economy, "smart" folks brown-bagged it, while only "idiots" are patronizing and supporting this downtown establishment. I'm not at all sure that an occasional lunch out = idiocy. Just sayin'
  • by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2010 at 09:53 AM
    and who is the entertainment district for? the retirees? after all this is a retirement city, nothing interesting for the young people here!!! We've been bamboozled again.
  • by Dick Location: Meridian on Jul 28, 2010 at 09:30 AM
    This is very good news, but I have three questions: 1. Could the MAEC get any further away from the new, underused parking garage and still stay downtown? 2. If the buildings are torn down, has consideration been given as to what is below those buildings? 3. Isn't it a little misleading to locate downtown when the proposal originally used Bonita Lakes Park to get the grant. It seems to me that the old Meridian Hotel would have been better suited for a hotel than the Threefoot Building. I truly hope this is successful.
  • by Do Your Homework on Jul 28, 2010 at 06:29 AM
    Before jumping into "uninformed" comments, do a little homework. "Tourism" brings big bucks into communities and homegrown businesses, like gift and specialty shops, restaurants, etc. If you look at other growing towns/cities, you'll see thriving downtown areas that has been refurbished and re-energized. The truth is, a town/city with a large tourism draw is what attracts "industry" and other businesses into the area. And maybe with the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center being located in close proximity to The MSU Riley Center and The Temple Performing Arts Center, there will be more interest from individuals or entities who have the funds and backing to restore the Threefoot Building.
  • by Reader Location: Meridian on Jul 27, 2010 at 07:29 PM
    Where are the businesses currently located in that building going - specifically The Book Exchange?
  • by Guy South of I-20 on Jul 27, 2010 at 06:24 PM
    This is nice and all but some industry would be better. Maybe I'm in the minority but I think Meridian needs more jobs more than it needs something like this. And when I say "jobs" I mean something sustainable like manufacturing and not something that tends to be temporary like yet another antique store.
  • by Wow Location: Meridian on Jul 27, 2010 at 05:56 PM
    I can not wait for election time so we can get rid of this idiot we call a mayor... She has no idea, that no one cares about downtown...
  • by Sandy Location: Meridian on Jul 27, 2010 at 03:50 PM
    I am all in favor of it but I am also in favor of doing something with the Threefoot building. Hopefully, this will translate into restoring it, as well.
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