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August 23, 2016
Source: The Meridian Star

The MAX in Meridian moves forward

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The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center Experience (The MAX) has received the support of the citizens of Meridian. The MAX was designed by CANIZARO CAWTHON DAVIS in association with LPK Architects of Meridian.

From the Meridian Star, August 20, 2016:

Now that the two percent food and beverage tax to fund the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience has been approved by voters, MAEE Executive Director Marty Gamblin can move on to other hurdles. Gamblin said he was anxious over Tuesday's vote, but foresaw the referendum passing.
"I really expected it. To say I wasn't nervous would be a lie," Gamblin said Thursday as he sat in his Front Street office across the street from where the center will be built. "To the City of Meridian, it was too important not to pass it. The whole community that was for it stepped up and put their neck out. They felt like I did in that it was a defining factor for the City of Meridian and will lead to a lot of future things happening." Gamblin said Meridian's future appears brighter since the referendum passed. "This is the beginning of a new Meridian," Gamblin said. "Some of the things we have been going to in other places to enjoy we'll be able to enjoy here now. We'll have something here you can't find anywhere else."
Gamblin has been working non-stop to identify what particular exhibits will fill the interior of the building. "As executive director, it's my job to coordinate all these exhibits. We have people throughout the state and lean on them for information," Gamblin said. "The most critical thing right now is identifying who is going to make up the interior exhibits." MAEE Board Member Billy Estes estimated the tax will generate $2.5-$2.7 million annually over a maximum of 10 years. He said the tax expires once bonds are paid off. The 58,000-square-foot facility is projected to open at the end of 2017 at Front Street and 22nd Avenue. The major themes for the exhibits will include Mississippi actors, authors, musicians visual artists, and others, including culinary arts, comedians and journalists.

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