Microbrewery proposed for downtown Meridian
For almost five years, Meridian's old police station has sat vacant. If Mayor Percy Bland has his way that will soon change. That's because he says Meridian based Threefoot Brewery wants to open a microbrewery there.
"It creates the traffic that we want for downtown," says Mayor Bland. "It creates the type of vibe that we want for downtown."
Mayor Bland's vision for downtown is to increase foot traffic. He says he wants to make it more of a college atmosphere in that regard, and also make it even more family friendly. By doing all of this, the mayor says these efforts will boost business.
"We're talking about a 'Go Cup' where people can leave restaurants and take their wine or beer outside," says Bland. "I mean, that's on the table for us in Meridian. With the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment facility. With the public space that we want to do over here, with the Children's Museum, we're just trying to compete with other cities that have energy downtown, and that's what we're trying to create."
Workers at Aie's Taste of Thai restaurant on Front Street say creating more foot traffic will help their business.
"We get a lot of customers that didn't even know we were here, and we've been here for four years, and they didn't even know that we were here," says Dee Dee Seale.
We talked to some locals about what they think needs to be done to attract more people downtown, and here's what they had to say.
"I think we need more social activities for the younger population for sure," says Miranda Williams, who works as a nurse in Meridian.
"I would just like for the city to put on more events for the kids," says Jenny Hutton.
"I would like to see the city host a family picnic," says Rosland Lynch. "Instead of just targeting the children, make it more family oriented."
As for the proposal for the old police station, that topic is set to come up for more discussion at the city council's next work session at 9 AM on March 19th.
Here are a few facts about the old police station in Meridian:
1. It has been vacant since it closed in May 2013 when MPD's new headquarters opened.
2. Prior to it closing, city officials expressed concerns about mold and the building's air conditioning unit.
3. In 2015 the Mississippi Historic Preservation Office designated the building as being historic.