Mayor Percy Bland looks back on his time in office
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - For the last eight years, Percy Bland has been Meridian’s mayor. Bland made history in 2013 when he was elected the first African American mayor of Meridian.
His political career began in 2009. He ran for mayor and didn’t win, but that didn’t deter him from trying again.
“We came here not knowing a single person in this city. I became mayor eight or nine years of living in the city. That lets anyone know that if they come to a city and put in hard work, through a business or relationships, sky is the limit,” Bland said.
Bland is proud of projects like the MAX, Children’s Museum, Threefoot Brewery, Castle Pipeline and the future Sela Ward Parkway. He is also proud of the new Velma Young Center and the $12 million paving project. The Threefoot Hotel is also high on the list.
“Some people offered us up to $1 million for this building, but they had so many things they needed done,” Bland recalled. “They needed the city’s backing and support to get it done, so I didn’t go with them. I finally went with John Tampa. John Tampa purchased this building for $10,000 on paper and the rest was history.”
Bland said there was a lot that got in the way of day-to-day operations. However, Bland said he is proud of the team he created and the projects that began under his watch.
“It was always a bunch of conspiracy theories that had never had any truth to them. I believe those clouds created a lot confusion and a lot of divisiveness as it came time for the election,“ Bland explained. “I told my team that not being elected had nothing to do with the way we were leading and governing this city. We got a lot of things done, our report card shows and the things we got done shows that.”
Bland hopes the future is bright for Meridian and the incoming administration.
“There’s a lot of momentum; there’s a lot of growth and good spirit in downtown Meridian. I want them to continue with that momentum. I want that administration to use the things we have already done and add on to it. At the end of the day, we all want the city of Meridian to win. I will still have a business here, so I need for Meridian to keep moving forward,” Bland explained. “We are just very happy and blessed for a lot of things that we were able to accomplish. We had a lot of relationships with good people. We just want to see this city do great things in the future. We hate that it had to come to an end, but we are proud of the work we’ve done over the last eight years.”
Mayor-Elect Jimmie Smith will take the oath of office July 1 in a 6 p.m. ceremony at the Temple Theatre.
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