by Mayor Tammy

It’s so fun to walk in downtown Meridian this time of year. Between the colorful flowers and beautiful trees, it seems that everything is in full bloom. But – that’s not all that’s blooming and budding in our downtown. New amenities and services are sprouting up, downtown events are blossoming, and existing businesses are changing color.

In our own City Hall, the Initial Point Gallery is a must see and should be on everyone’s to do list. Located on the third floor, this gallery showcases local artists of all ages and exhibits rotate monthly. This month the walls are lined with artwork by Mary Gardiner, Gary McCall, Teresa Rudd and 3D ceramic work by Janet Sturgill.  

Our City Hall Plaza plays host to many fun events throughout the year. One of the most well known is the Meridian Main Street Market. The market was just a seed of an idea a couple of years ago. But with a lot of love and a little sunshine, the event has grown into weekly tradition for families throughout Meridian. The market is open every Saturday from 9AM to 2PM at the City Hall Plaza. Market goers can enjoy homemade creations from over 50 local vendors. Several of the vendors are youth vendors – budding entrepreneurs! In addition to the great food, crafts, and produce; Main Street Market hosts live music each week.

Speaking of live music, the City Hall Plaza will be rockin’ this summer with Playin’ in the Plaza beginning this month on Thursdays, followed by Concerts on Broadway this fall.

Music to some, are the sounds that come from Meridian Speedway. Hosting racecar drivers from across the country, Meridian Speedway visitors can expect a great show nearly every week from now until October.  For almost 70 years, NASCAR fans have gathered under the Meridian Water Tower for all things fast and furious.

If a slower pace is more your style, you can take a stroll down memory lane on our Historic Walking Tour. We have brochures and a free walking tour app to help you navigate the tour. Enjoy the fun stories, see unique architecture, and learn interesting facts using your smart phone.  If you are visiting on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoons be sure to start your tour in the History Center, located in the City Hall lobby.

Take a break on your tour and enjoy a cup of tea at Potter’s Tea House, which is now home to Sweet Zola’s Candy Shop - a business with a mission as sweet as its product. Sweet Zola’s slogan is “Candy for Inclusion”, as the store employs individuals with developmental disabilities.

Just down the street, a downtown staple will have a whole new look (and name) this summer.  What was once known as Flatbread will soon be called Eight Thirty Common. The restaurant founders are completely transforming the Main Street location – including the menu. While the full menu hasn’t been released, I did read something about maple bacon glazed donuts – which are sure to be a success!  

They’re not the only ones with big things coming soon. Heritage Hop Haus is expanding this summer. Hop Haus will actually double in size and include a full restaurant serving up locally sourced food. Also getting a facelift is the Busted Shovel, which will now be called the Bottle Cap Bar. In addition to the new name comes a new look, both inside and out.

It’s not just the buildings and businesses being beautified on Main Street, it’s the people too! We recently joined two new businesses for ribbon cuttings that are offering Old Town Meridian a slew of health and beauty options.  Between Summers Skin Care Studio, Beaute’ + Ink and the existing salons, downtown visitors can leave feeling like a whole new person.

Deja Brew is well known for its coffee, but did you know that their menu now includes wine? It’s a great place to enjoy lunch or you can attend one of their many evening events. Live music, trivia, comedy shows - there’s always something happening at Deja Brew or just outside its doors in the Generations Plaza. Speaking of great food, between Pauly’s Taco Tuesday, the Prime Rib at Kahootz, the cozy outside patio at Cork & Fork, and of course the famous Basque food and hospitality at Epi’s - good food is never far away in Downtown Meridian.

Main Street itself is a happening place in our great city. We have another great parade right around the corner for Meridian Dairy Days later this month. This year it is moving to Saturday night, as they’ll be celebrating 90 years with the popular pancake feed, carnival, pool bash and more – it will be legenDAIRY!

The revitalization of Downtown Meridian has been a major effort by many community members over the years. One of the most recent results of that effort is currently in progress at the corner of Main and Broadway. Last month, City Center Redevelopment broke ground on the Old Town Lofts. The project will transform that corner and the old City Hall property on Idaho Avenue into two new four-story, mixed-use buildings. The development will feature apartments and retail stores as well as business and restaurant space. This project will fill a need for diverse living options in this part of town. It will be a great addition to the existing businesses. I’m hopeful that it will help to attract new residents and businesses to Downtown Meridian – it certainly is creating excitement and buzz.

Whether it’s to take advantage of the amazing services offered by our local businesses, meet up with friends at the market, learn about our rich history, or catch a parade – I hope you enjoy all that Downtown Meridian has to offer!

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