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Meridian's arts center inches closer to reality

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 27, 2003
Sunny skies are forecast Wednesday for what leaders of the planned $50 million Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center say promises to be a key day in the center's future.
Members of the center's development committee and about 300 other guests are expected to meet at Bonita's upper lake to dedicate the site for the center and unveil a sign announcing the project.
Wednesday's site dedication comes more than a year after the committee members first met at Bonita to discuss plans for the center.
The Mississippi Legislature tabbed Meridian's Bonita Lakes two years ago as the site for the multi-million dollar statewide arts center. The center, though, has yet to receive needed state funding.
Plans for the center include an amphitheater, hall of fame, two performance halls and artist studios.
Ground-breaking for the first phase of the project is planned for fall 2004 if fund-raising efforts are complete. Ott said the development committee is seeking funds.
Ott said community and statewide support also will be an important part of the success of the center.
And with featured speakers at the site dedication all behind the project a list that includes U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell and Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith Ott said the future is in good hands.

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