• 84°
franklin county times

Revitalizing Fifth Street

By Staff
HISTORIC PIECE OF MERIDIAN – Fifth Street between 23rd Avenue and 26th Avenue was once a thriving, historic section of downtown Meridian, full of local businesses and their customers. Now, the area is home to only a few businesses surrounded by abandoned lots and buildings with peeling paint and decaying facades. PHOTO BY CARISA MCCAIN / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
December 1, 2002
Minnie Hunter remembers how busy things used to be in the heart of the African American business district in downtown Meridian.
In the 1940s, Hunter said Fifth and Fourth Streets between 23rd and 26th Avenues were lined with hotels, restaurants, retail stores, a movie theater, doctor's offices and many other black-owned businesses.
But after integration, Hunter said, the area slowly started to deteriorate.
Changes
Today, more than 30 years of changes from pharmacies and retail stores to a scattering of night clubs, barber shops and all too many abandoned buildings, city officials and business owners are making an effort to revitalize the downtrodden area.
After a month-long battle crafting this year's $86 million budget in September, Meridian city councilmen cut thousands of dollars from proposed spending.
One of the projects that survived the cuts was a $25,000 feasibility study for the revitalization of the African American Historic Business District. Work on the study could begin in the next few weeks.
Sharon Smith, who heads Meridian's Main Street Division and will organize the feasibility study, said the money was much needed.
The money could be used for marketing and promoting the area through videos and brochures among other things, Smith said.
Faith
But for now, the once-bustling business district remains stagnant, with old, decaying buildings the norm. Some of the eyesores are little more than brick frames with grass and weeds growing in the middle.
Linda Jordan, who owns Blessa's Florist &Gift Shop, left her 2401 Fifth St. spot after a fire in the mid-1990s. Jordan had operated her florist business there for 10 years until the fire forced her to conduct business from home.
Even though many businesses have fled the area and buildings continue to sit idle, some have faith things will change.
Minnie Hunter is one of those whose hopes are high.

Franklin County

CDC authorizes COVID-19 vaccine for children

News

Russellville celebrates freedom at Jam on Sloss Lake Monday

News

RFD responds to downtown structure fire

Franklin County

Franklin County 4-H announces horse club, summer day camps

Franklin County

Sweet T’s Meat & Greet celebrates grand opening

Franklin County

Bank Independent launches School Share

Franklin County

First Metro Bank reaches nearly 2,000 local students through financial literacy efforts

Franklin County

County votes in primary runoff

News

Kids, Kin program, Girl Scouts present information at RPL

Franklin County

FC Rescue Squad president faces arrest for theft

Franklin County

Summer P-EBT benefits go to families of eligible school children

News

Red Bay City Council approves water, gas board resolution

News

Red Bay Council discusses regulating vicious animals

Franklin County

Furr Fest fundraiser sees success

Franklin County

Distinguished Through the Decades: 2001, Kathryn (Keeton) Nix

News

Phil Campbell festival unites friends for food, fun, music

News

BTCPA gears up to perform ‘Leading Ladies,’ final play of season

News

Phil Campbell Police Department adds new vehicle to its fleet

News

Face-painting fun, crafts, treats delight at RPL

News

PC prepares to enforce noise, impoundment ordinances

Franklin County

Blue Springs VFD holds Furr Fest fundraiser

Franklin County

Russellville promotes race amity June 12

Franklin County

Distinguished Through the Decades: 2000, Lindsay (Gerstman) Almond

News

PC Title Loan opens

x