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franklin county times

City shares vision with developers

By Staff
TOURING MERIDIAN Larry Dudley speaks with members of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors, including Michelle Burford, left, Bennett Chotard and Jim Conerly, about renovations at Weidmann's restaurant. The group took a tour of downtown Meridian on Tuesday. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 10, 2002
For more than 30 years, Larry Dudley has been selling commercial real estate in Meridian primarily to area residents and businessmen.
On Tuesday, he and other real estate agents had a chance to sell their vision of Meridian to business leaders and potential investors from around the state.
The Meridian branch of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors hosted more than 40 commercial real estate agents and economic development leaders Tuesday.
The goal: to showcase Meridian's growth and tell others how public and private sectors can work together to improve the quality of life in the community.
Good impression
Visitors met with elected officials, toured downtown and learned about downtown revitalization projects. Many, like Ridgeland developer Russell Wilcox, were impressed.
The day began at Union Station, where the visitors were briefed about the planned Riley Education &Performing Arts Center and renovations to the Grand Opera House.
They also learned about the planned downtown parking garage.
Shortly before noon, the group took a walking tour of downtown revitalization projects, including Weidmann's restaurant, the Riley center, the Opera House and the Rosenbaum building.
Smith's vision
Then, at a luncheon in Union Station catered by Montana's the long-planned restaurant on Front Street Mayor John Robert Smith outlined his vision for the city.
Smith also talked about plans for the Cooper Community a gated retirement community developers are expected to build on 1,314 acres of city-owned land south of Interstate 20/59.
Although the projects have periodically hit a few snags, he said, a united effort among elected officials, area business leaders and the people have made it possible.
City changes
Wilcox said he traveled to Meridian on Tuesday to see the changes that the mayor spoke about. Wilcox's company has developed office buildings in Ridgeland.
Wilcox said he enjoyed his stay in Meridian and was most impressed with the attitude of the city's leaders.

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