Meridian Historic Walking Tour (City of Meridian)
Monday, November 9, 2015
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
The City of Meridian and Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) believe preserving Meridian’s history is a vital part of retaining the character and heart of our community. Historic homes and buildings have been identified as valuable and integral to the fabric of Meridian and therefore should be noted and honored by their inclusion in Meridian’s Historic Walking Tour.
Originally created by the Meridian Historical Society and launched in the 1990s; the Meridian Historic Walking Tour began as a trifold brochure that featured 24 different historic structures. Each property had a photo and brief description listed in the brochure which was available at Meridian City Hall or through the Meridian Historical Society. This tour was a hidden treasure in the community because it was not well advertised and there was not a large forum to promote the tour and its content. In April of 2013 Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd assembled a subcommittee of interested business owners, Historic Preservation Commissioners (HPC), MDC members, and City staff to discuss ways to update the Walking Tour and to increase public awareness of Meridian’s history. It is through the partnerships and joint efforts of these committee members the Meridian Historic Walking Tour was updated and re-launched in May of 2014.
It was determined early on the way to increase awareness and availability of the tour was for the information to be presented in multiple formats. While hard copy brochures are helpful to some users other prefer an electronic format. The group identified twelve of the original properties to be included in Phase One of the updated tour. Each property was researched in greater detail and histories documented online through the City of Meridian’s webpage. Offering an electronic format of the tour allows for continuous editing and adding of content without spending additional funds; therefore, the subcommittee quickly concluded the main content of the tour would be made available online and a hardcopy of the brochure would be offered as a secondary form. Members of the public could experience the tour without ever leaving their homes.
Connecting the electronic Walking Tour with the hardcopy brochures became the focus of the group. It was agreed that using Quick Read (QR) Codes was the ideal way to link the formats. A QR code is a smart tag acting as an Internet link to a variety of information for people using a smart device. Users can launch an app and scan the QR Code with the camera from their smart device. Once scanned the device automatically launches the website corresponding to the data stored in the QR Code. Each property on the Walking Tour now has a webpage and each webpage has a QR Code that can be printed on any brochures or promotional materials, creating endless opportunities. Content including narratives, photos and videos were uploaded to each website and the use of QR codes allowed the same information to be accessible across many devices such as a stationary desktop and mobile devices.
The Committee completed Phase One by selecting the method of distribution for the brochures. The design, fabrication and installation of a panel sign was contracted to a third party vendor and ultimately installed in Meridian City Hall Plaza. The panel, made of fossil grade material, showcases a map of the tour as well as a mounted waterproof brochure holder. The brochure holder can hold up to 100 brochures allowing the tour materials to be available to the public on evenings and weekends. Sidewalk markers, made of a fade resistant thermoplastic material, were imbedded into the sidewalk adjacent to the historical property displaying the Walking Tour logo allowing for a visual reminder for each property. Citizens walking through downtown Meridian will see these sidewalk markers and know they are at a location of historical significance.
The project was further promoted through a continued funding partnership with MDC. MDC funded field trips for all of Meridian’s Third Grade students to attend the Walking Tour during the 2014-2015 school year. Our hope and intent is this funding partnership continues into future budget years to allow all of Meridian’s students the opportunity to engage with their history by walking the tour and interacting with City staff and leadership.
The second phase of the tour, documenting eleven new sites, is under construction now and is scheduled to launch in May of 2015.
For more info, contact:
Senior Deputy City Clerk