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franklin county times

Funding next step in downtown development

By Staff
SIGNS OF THE PAST – Signs for the E.F. Young Jr. Hotel and Young's Barber &Beauty Shop rust away at the intersection of Fifth Street and 25th Avenue in downtown Meridian. The building is one of many deteriorated structures in the African American Historic Business District an area targeted for downtown revitalization efforts. Photo by Kyle Carter / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
October 21, 2004
City officials and business leaders unveiled plans for the cultural development of downtown Meridian on Wednesday at a meeting in Union Station.
Speaking to about 80 people, Bob Malone, a member of the board of directors of the Meridian Community Development &Investment Corp., announced strong local support for the work.
Malone also said the National Trust for Historic Preservation has indicated it will allocate New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Preservation Tax Credits to projects worth up to $30 million.
The New Markets Tax Credit program gives taxpayers credit against federal income taxes for making certain investments in designated Community Development Entities, called CDE.
In turn, the CDE provides investments in low-income communities.
Last month, Meridian city councilmen approved the creation and a board of directors for the Meridian Community Development &Investment Corp.
City officials and business leaders said the nonprofit group was needed because other local community development groups didn't meet necessary federal guidelines to apply for the credits.
Malone said he expects to hear soon that the U.S. Treasury Department has accepted the Meridian Community Development &Investment Corp. application for CDE status.
Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, the state's chief economic development agency, was the keynote speaker at the meeting.
His message was that communities should play to their strengths and that Meridian should stay the course in its cultural development efforts.
He said Meridian should not abandon its work in trying to recruit traditional, cost-based industries, but he said the trend for Mississippi's future will be a demand for more service oriented or talent-based jobs.
Speed said Meridian is blessed with two strengths, a downtown with beautiful old buildings and lots of city park space.
Malone said he would like to begin a series of public meetings over the coming months and to present the strategic plans for downtown to the community and civic groups.
The Meridian Community Development &Investment Corp.'s plan for cultural development in downtown Meridian includes the proposed renovation of these buildings:
Source: The Meridian Community Development &Investment Corp.

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