The gateway to Meridian, Mississippi, that is how Mayor Cheri Barry referred to the newly renovated Meridian Airport Authority during Tuesday's ribbon cutting ceremony.
Barry was just one of many leaders on hand. Those we spoke to say they are impressed with the changes they saw, which include upgrades to Meridian Aviation and the Meridian Airport terminal, as well as the new Dean Aircraft Services hangar for airplane maintenance.
"When you fly into Meridian and you look at this, it is more comparable than some of the big ones when you consider the size of this city and the size of this airport," Meridian City Council member Mary Perry says. "So, I think this is going to be a plus and a blessing for Meridian."
"I think it's great to have a airport here in Meridian," Lauderdale County District 5 Supervisor Kyle Rutledge says. "We have the longest runway in the state and I think that is great to bring people in here. And also for economic development, to have it where people can fly right into Meridian."
Private pilots flying into meridian will be able enjoy a new kitchen inside Meridian Aviation, stocked with all the snack and ammenities you could think of. Then there is the new addition to the airport terminal to accomodate more people flying in and out of the airport.
"Meridian's front door to the private aviation community didn't look very good," Meridian Airport Authority President Tom Williams says. "In fact, it was smoke filled, shagged carpet, it was a terrible facility. Over several years, we've been able to renovate the facility into a facility that you would want to have as Meridian's front door."
"I hope it brings more people here to Meridian," Rutledge adds. "And they get to see how great Lauderdale County and Meridian, Mississippi is."
The Meridian Regional Airport has been around for nearly 90 years. It was opened back in 1930 and currently sits on an almost 900 acre site. It has two runways. The longest in the state 10-thousand foot main runway, and a 46-hundred foot secondary runway.