Planning for our community takes time and energy. Not just from our staff, but from our residents, businesses, land owners, and stakeholders who together make up our community to ensure the standards we want and desire are set for our future. Back in 2006 the City set out to plan for Meridian south of the interstate. While those who participated in the process were able to agree on what part of the community should look like, there was a section that didn t have consensus so no decisions were made about the future of this property.
Last week, more than five years since this project originally began, we once again started the process of setting the vision for south Meridian located south of the interstate and west of Linder Road. These nine square miles - in city s area of impact - were the focus of a planning session held at Mary McPherson Elementary last Wednesday night. I d like to thank those who came out and participated in this exercise which is the first step in the long-range planning for the area. Sitting side-by-side, the participants worked together to develop their plan for south Meridian, setting aside their needs or desires and putting Meridian first. The next step now will be a joint meeting between the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council. This meeting will take place on April 3 at 5:30 pm at City Hall, during which common themes of the citizen designed maps will be presented and a summary of the first meeting shared. If you have an interest in the area and the process, please visit www.meridianctiy.org/youarethemap.
While long-range visioning is being done for south Meridian, we continue to work other areas as well, such as our downtown. We received our quarterly update from Ashley Ford, the Administrator for the Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) last week at City Council. She shared information about the projects and activities in downtown such as parking to accommodate businesses for their employees and customers, and signage to have a cohesive look and feel to our downtown.
In case you didn t know, MDC has relocated the Groundfloor from its location on Idaho Street to the SW corner of Main and Broadway in the old Farmers and Merchants bank building. This new location provides more opportunities for startup companies who need work space. It will also provide a home location for the MDC administrator with office hours and an easy point of contact. So, if you want to know more about MDC and what is planned for our downtown, stop in and sit down with Ashley.
As I mentioned in my State of the City speech, having places to go with family and friends is a priority. Nowhere is this truer than in our downtown. As I have said in the past, it must be a place to go to, not drive through. The City is working with the MDC and downtown businesses to foster an environment that encourages investment; we have seen advancements over the last few years in spite of the economy with new businesses opening up such as Flatbread Community Oven, Preece Chocolates, The Grotto, and many more.
We have also seen the construction of the new building for COMPASS and Valley Regional Transit keeping both of these organizations in Meridian and adding 20 jobs into our downtown. We are currently working with developers and potential investors on two different opportunities that, if successful, will be catalyst projects for downtown and meet the Destination Downtown vision that has been established by the community.
As we continue to work on our future, both immediate and long-term, there will be plenty of opportunities. I ask you to join us; stay informed, visit our website frequently, and get involved. Working together, we are building a premiere community.