by Mayor Simison

Friday was our first-ever State of Downtown Meridian address for the City of Meridian. This virtual event was put on by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce and done in collaboration with the City of Meridian and the Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) – our urban renewal district – for local downtown stakeholders. It covered a variety of topics presented by key leaders from the development industry, all centered around the historic heart of Meridian - Destination Downtown. The topics of discussion included the merger between Meridian Chamber and the Meridian Downtown Business Association, urban renewal activities, downtown projects under development, and a panel discussion on the unique strengths and opportunities with commercial real estate in Downtown Meridian.

Focusing on infill in downtown is responsible growth and helps to solve problems. With the existing downtown urban renewal district sunsetting in 2026, the City and MDC are working together, taking advantage of the momentum to address some transportation improvements needed in the area and spur private investment. To help with the continued revitalization of downtown, we are focusing future urban renewal district efforts on the Civic Block and the new Northern Gateway District. We anticipate these urban renewal districts will help fund pathway improvements, the 3rd Street extension, and utility upgrades. Simply put, these areas need investment in infrastructure to make it more pedestrian friendly and bring more commercial and retail activity to our downtown.

As part of the State of Downtown, information was shared about current redevelopment projects underway and potential projects under review on the Civic Block. These projects are bringing housing options and commercial spaces to our downtown.  Josh Evarts provided updates on the mixed-use project of Old Town Lofts, located right by City Hall, which is expected to complete next year. His focus is on bringing affordable, workforce housing to the area and providing commercial space for our local business community.  Bill Truax provided an update on Union 93, another mixed-use development in downtown. With a plaza, street level commercial and residential housing above, work continues to move forward with the hopes of breaking ground later this year. All of these developments will create vibrant sidewalk activities and really introduce pedestrian amenities to encourage residents to dine, shop, and walk throughout our downtown.

As the heart of our community, downtown remains a great opportunity. We have property and business owners – along with many others – who are committed to seeing these smart, strategic growth opportunities take place in our community. The City and MDC are committed to the progress and redevelopment of Meridian as laid out in Destination Downtown. Again, I want to thank Meridian Chamber, Meridian Development Corporation, and all of the presenters for our first State of Downtown Meridian address. If you weren’t able to participate, you can watch the full event by visiting www.meridiancity.org/stateofdowntown.

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