2011 Awards

2012 MMSA Awards Application


Best Adaptive Re-Use Project
This award is granted to the best adaptive reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.
Winner: The BTC Old Fashioned Grocery Building
Program: Water Valley Main Street
Manager: Mickey Howley
Accepting: Alexe Van Buren, Owner

In the summer of 2006, residents of Water Valley learned one of the oldest and the largest building in downtown Water Valley had been purchased for demolition. Husband and wife team Kagan Coughlin and Alexe van Beuren decided to try and save the Water Valley landmark, and in May 2007, purchased the building. The couple then had to decide what to do with a 10,000 sq. ft., 140-year-old department store building.

A study from the Water Valley Main Street Charrette supported Alexe’s decision to open an old-fashioned styled grocery, named “BTC, in May 2010. The store features locally grown and organic produce and products and has quickly become a favorite local hangout. The upstairs was converted into offices and an apartment was trimmed out in 1940’s detective noir style and is presently occupied by novelist Ace Atkins.

Best Private Historic Rehabilitation Project
This award is presented to an individual or business that has completed an outstanding private historic rehabilitation project that maintains the use of the building in a downtown district.
Winner: Grand Magnolia Ballroom & Suites
Program: Pascagoula Main Street
Accepting: Ken and Debbie Steiner, Owners

Constructed in the late 19th century as a residence near the heart of town, the building now known as Grand Magnolia Ballroom & Suites has been a family home, a boarding house during World War II and home to the Knights of Columbus and Columbus Club.  After 20 years of vacancy, Ken and Debbie Steiner purchased the residence.

After Katrina, the owners received a grant from the MS Department of Archives and History for hurricane-damaged homes. Approximately a million dollars later, the house was totally rehabilitated and restored to its original grandeur and now operates as a bed and breakfast. The elegant ballroom edition has become a popular venue for weddings, receptions, meetings, reunions and even church services. The Steiners have contributed to the community in a big way – and have been a stimulus in the revitalization of the Orange Street Historic District in Pascagoula.
Best Public Historic Rehabilitation Project
This award is presented to an individual or business that has completed an outstanding public historic rehabilitation project that maintains the use of the building in a downtown district.

Winner: Rehabilitation of the Calhoun City Hall
City: Calhoun City, Mississippi
Firm: Belinda Stewart Architects
Accepting: Holly Hawkins from Belinda Stewart Architects
and Mayor J.R. Denton of Calhoun City

After thoughtful study, city officials of Calhoun City found that rehabilitating their current City Hall, a circa 1940 building, was the best use of their resources and space rather than constructing a new building.

After a surprise donation was made to the project for further interior improvements, the City held a Christmas Open House and invited the entire town to celebrate the rehabilitation of the historic City Hall as part of their continued effort to revitalize downtown Calhoun City. The renovated space provides a quality public facility that meets the specific needs of this community and is a perfect, grass roots example of Carl Elefante’s quote, “The greenest building is the one already built.” 

Best Public/Private Partnership Project (1 of 2)
This award recognizes creative and positive joint ventures between the local government and the private sector. Criteria for judging include the success of the project, its impact on revitalization, and the nature and extent of the partnership effort.

Winner: Belhaven Park
Program: Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation
Accepting: Virgie Lindsay and Margaret Barret-Simon

Located between commercial and residential areas, Belhaven Park has been an eyesore rather than a park worthy of its name and location, until recently. In 2006, Greater Belhaven residents and businesses rallied to support the Belhaven Park effort to save the park in order to improve, protect and enhance the neighborhood.

The public-private project was completed in phases over several years with the cooperation and collaboration of many entities, especially the City of Jackson Department of Parks and Recreation and the help from many Community and Neighborhood supporters.

The original size of the park has been doubled, and great care was given to the design of the park to fit seamlessly within the Belhaven Historic District. Belhaven Park has been restored to its original purpose as an urban green space and is now emerging as Greater Belhaven’s gathering place and Town Center.
Best Public/Private Partnership Project (2 of 2)
Winner: Pascagoula Pride
Program: Pascagoula Main Street
Accepting: Pat Ellis

Pascagoula Pride is a non-profit organization formed in 1984 by a group of citizens who wanted to beautify and enhance their community. The committee is made up of local men and women who not only volunteer countless hours but also raise money for many different projects throughout Pascagoula. 

In 2007, the City of Pascagoula and Pascagoula Main Street underwent a branding campaign with ArnettMuldrow and Associates. Wayfinding signage was highly recommended, and Pascagoula Pride helped secure a large donation from the Herrin-Chandler Foundation for a large welcome sign into the city.

The 14-foot tall sign, made of brick and granite, provides directions to downtown, city hall, the courthouse and the beach.  The Welcome sign has two gas lanterns on either side of banners that advertise upcoming community events. Pascagoula Main Street is grateful for a great partnership with an amazing group of men and women who make up Pascagoula Pride.

Best Façade Rehabilitation (Over $10,000)
This award recognizes the best single façade renovation project that enhances the commercial district in appearance or function and encourages further design improvements. 

Winner: Lexington City Hall
Program: Lexington Main Street
Accepting: Craig Bjorgum (B-YOUR-gum) from Belinda Stewart Architects
and Jackie Brown, City of Lexington/former president of Lexington Main Street

Lexington City Hall is located just off the historic square on one of the remaining, original brick-paved streets.  The building was originally constructed in the 1940’s and then re-clad in the 1970’s with a new roof, porch and rear addition. 

The façade rehabilitation project addressed several needs for both the City Hall and downtown Lexington, including handicap accessible provisions and interior renovations consisting of a new lobby and restroom facilities.

Mayor of Lexington Robin McCrory said, “This façade rehabilitation has been vital to the whole community’s use of the facility, especially our aging population.  The look of our City Hall is now in step with all the efforts we have made to beautify our downtown court square.”

Best Public Improvement Project
This award is given to the municipality or downtown program that has designed and implemented attractive and sympathetic improvements for its downtown. 

Winner: Olde Towne Mural
Program: Main Street Clinton
Accepting: Wyatt Waters, Artist

In keeping with the continued dream of a more beautiful and inviting historic downtown, Main Street Clinton undertook and completed one of its most ambitious projects to date, the Olde Towne Mural, in collaboration with local artist Wyatt Waters and students from Clinton High School, Clinton Christian Academy, and Mississippi College. The theme of the mural, “What Makes Clinton, Clinton,” depicts scenes that highlight Clinton’s history, present and future.

Grants, donations and sponsorships from Entergy, Revell Ace Hardware, Home Depot, the Arts Council of Clinton, Mississippi College and Central Mississippi Medical Center helped make the Olde Towne Mural project a colorful reality. 

Best Community Impact Project
This award recognizes a business or organization that has contributed leadership and support for downtown and represents a commitment to the community and investment in downtown revitalization.

Winner: Four.One.Five City Centre, Agape Church
Program: Laurel Main Street
Accepting: James Johnson-Hill

The two-story, circa 1910 building located in the center of downtown Laurel, once housed Davidson’s Dry Goods and later Woolworth’s, a national five-and-dime retail store. Over the past decade, the vacant Woolworth’s building was enjoyed only by pigeons and threatened to be demolished and converted into a parking lot.

After the local historic commission fought to preserve the structure, the building stood empty until Pastor James Johnson- Hill and his team at Agape Church took ownership in March 2010. They began a major renovation project to create a building where the new church could gather weekly and also a place where the community could gather for special events, meetings, concerts and more.

Ignoring all doubts, James and his team worked diligently to finish Phase I of the renovation in time for the first church service in January with more than 100 visitors in attendance. Since its opening, Four.One.Five City Centre has become a success story for historic preservation and economic development in downtown Laurel.

Best Creative Fund-Raising Project

This award is granted to a downtown organization that has displayed the most creativity and success in securing funds for its downtown program or specific project.
Winner: “Come As You Aren’t” Costume and Dance Party
Program: Water Valley Main Street
Accepting: Bill Warren

Albert Einstein was seen picking up a party platter at BTC Grocery. Little Richard
was spotted helping him. Little Bo Beep, looking not so little, was herding three sheep down Main Street. Something abnormal was going on in downtown Water Valley on a late winter night.

What began as an offhand comment from Water Valley Arts Council member Bill Warren, turned into the “Come As You Aren’t” Costume and Dance Party. The theme was based on the belief that the combination of fun, art, and desire for positive community action can be a powerful catalyst for re-energizing a town.

The WVAC and Water Valley Main Street Association had the town buzzing about the costume contest, and local artists donated works of art for a raffle. A cross section of the community not normally seen together came out and boogied to support the WVAC’s Summer Art Camp for Kids.

Best Newsletter
- Population Over 5,000
This award recognizes excellence in communication by a downtown organization through its print or online newsletter.

Winner: Laurel Main Street News
Program: Laurel Main Street
Accepting: Ben Napier, Main Street President

The Laurel Main Street News is distributed online to more than 1,700 e-mail subscribers and informs recipients of upcoming events and news. It includes advertisements for local businesses, as well as discount coupons for downtown products. The newsletter is also used to feature residential and retail spaces available for rent or purchase in downtown Laurel, and a different piece of artwork is featured in the newsletter header each issue.
As a tool for shaping public opinion of Laurel Main Street and downtown Laurel, the newsletter raises awareness of downtown events, promotes businesses and encourages customers to shop local. It has helped Main Street to promote a quality image of downtown to new supporters and to maintain relationships with existing fans.

Best Special Event
This award recognizes the downtown organization that has created a quality special event, generating traffic for the downtown.

Winner: Second Annual Downtown Studio Art Crawl
Program: Water Valley Main Street
Accepting: Ramona Bernard

Building on the success of the first Water Valley Studio Art Crawl in 2009, the second annual “ArtCrawl” nearly doubled in participation and attendance. The ArtCrawl kicks off the art and cultural season in Water Valley and promotes local art, the art school, summer art camp, local music events, and the annual community art award.

For more than three hours, crawlers weave their way through a six-block downtown and residential area, catching art shows in galleries and art studios, enjoying food and drink, and listening to local musicians. While the event is free for all crawlers, the economic impact on the town has been considerable –a second downtown art gallery has opened, the art school has a waiting list, and local real estate has improved.  While looking at the Art Crawl Map Fan, local realtor Sherry Fischer realized she had sold three of the studios and houses featured on the art crawl in the last year. She said, “I guess these artists do buy!”

Best Retail Promotion
This award honors the downtown organization that has developed an effective retail promotion in conjunction with downtown merchants. 

Winner: “Wine Downtown”
Program: Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association
Accepting: Debbie Brangenberg

The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association (DTMSA) partnered with downtown businesses to create a new event called “Wine Downtown” to showcase new and existing downtown businesses, increase retail sales and create a buzz about downtown as a destination.

The event features wines from different countries with complimentary food pairings. As participants check in, they receive a Downtown Passport map, a paper wine bag with specials from participating businesses, and a commemorative wine glass for their stroll downtown. The event culminates with a roof top party at a downtown restaurant.

The 2011 event showed a 43 percent increase in ticket sales from 2010 to 2011. With the increased revenue for the merchants and additional traffic generated in downtown, Wine Downtown has proven to be a very successful retail promotion and is now slated as an annual promotional event for downtown Tupelo.

Best Image Promotion
This award recognizes the downtown organization that has developed an effective public relations piece or promotional campaign that motivates the consumer and promotes community loyalty.

Winner: Meridian Main Street Annual Report
Program: Meridian Main Street
Accepting: Kenny Watts

This past year, the Alliance for Downtown Meridian was revamped and renamed Meridian Main Street, and a branding campaign was launched to solidify existing support and expand membership. The strategy included renaming Fifth Street—the location of the organization’s new headquarters—to Main Street, and educating the community by documenting the successes and goals of Meridian Main Street through a comprehensive annual report.

The report adopts a conversational tone and magazine look, setting it apart from a run-of-the-mill annual report. It features colorful graphics and photos to stimulate visual interest and promote downtown businesses and conveys energy, excitement and fun for the restructured organization. The result was an annual report that was fresh and unique and sends a powerful message about the “New and Improved” Meridian Main Street.

Best Branding Promotion
This award recognizes the downtown organization that has developed an effective branding and marketing campaign for downtown.

Winner: Tunica Main Street Logo
Program: Tunica Main Street
Accepting: Lynn Ryals

The small town of Tunica is known for cotton farming and is literally located at the top of the Delta. When Tunica Main Street began to consider a re-branding of its image and logo, Main Street training encouraged thinking about the town’s location and what it is known for.

Amber Patten, owner of WebzMedia, began working with Tunica Main Street manager Lynn Ryals on ideas and colors for the new brand. Using the image of cotton, the triangle of the Delta and colors from the area, a brand was formed to express what Tunica is all about, along with the tagline “Tunica, Top of the Delta.”  To go along with the new brand, Tunica Main Street is planting cotton in the downtown park for visitors to see when they come to Tunica.

Best Town and Gown Event
This award recognizes a creative and positive collaborative program between the community and an institution of higher education.
Winner: Back To The Bricks
Program: Main Street Clinton
Accepting: George Ewing, Main Street Clinton Board President

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Clinton, and the City of Clinton joined efforts to host “Back to the Bricks,” a downtown community block party on the brick streets of Olde Towne Clinton. The goal of this collaborative effort was to welcome Mississippi College students to Clinton and introduce them to the unique local businesses in the Clinton community. 

For several days prior to the event, signs and posters were placed around the city and in local businesses to welcome the students to town. On the evening of “Back to the Bricks,” Mayor Rosemary Aultman officially welcomed the students, and Board of Aldermen passed out ice cream.  Area businesses set up booths and handed out coupon books to the students to help familiarize them with Clinton. Music filled the air as students mingled with each other and city officials and merchants. Cups coffee shop in Olde Towne hosted several live bands on its deck throughout the evening. 
Mississippi College also used the “Back to the Bricks” event for its pep-rally for the first football game of the season. “Back to the Bricks” marked the first time such a coordinated effort was put forth to welcome the town’s college students, and plans are underway to make the event this year even bigger and better.

Main Street Merchant of the Year

This award recognizes excellence in the retail field and goes to a merchant who has been a “mover and a shaker” in downtown revitalization and exemplifies the best in merchandising, inventory, display, hours, quality, convenience and service.
Winner: Bellissimo – Main Street Merchant of the Year
City: Eupora, Mississippi
Accepting: Rebecca Dewberry, Owner

Rebecca Dewberry had a dream to open her own business and use her degree in Interior Design. With her education and work experience, she began to make her dream a reality when she became a vendor at the 2009 Christmas Market in Eupora.  Rebecca’s store, Bellissimo, occupied three booth spaces in the building that was home to the Magnolia Tea Room in downtown Eupora.  After the market, Rebecca decided to stay through the Christmas shopping season, then, decided to stay open through spring, and now, Bellissimo has had a presence on Main Street for over a year. Rebecca is now preparing to move to a larger space in town.

By utilizing social media to market her business, using her design training to fashion enticing window and store displays, and holding special events like pottery signings, Rebecca has proven that even in a challenging economy, a quality retail business in a small town can succeed.
Best New Development Project
Granted to an individual or business that has undertaken a new development project within a downtown district that not only achieves financial success and quality design but also has made a positive impact on downtown revitalization.

Winner: The First State Bank Clock Tower Building
Program: Meridian Main Street
Accepting: Johnny Brewer

The First State Bank Clock Tower Building filled a long-standing vacant lot in the heart of downtown Meridian at one of the community’s most prominent intersections.  The historic Lamar Building occupied the lot for nearly a century until the building was demolished in the late ‘90’s because of deferred maintenance and neglect.  The lot remained vacant for nearly a decade as a silent statement confirming the downtown’s economic stagnation until First State Bank of Mississippi acquired the lot and constructed its Meridian headquarters in downtown. 

The bank’s new building reflected a tremendous private sector investment that blended well into the downtown’s historic fabric.  Architects with Thomas Shelton Jones and Associates, PLLC designed the 11,500 square foot bank building, which had its grand opening in 2008.

The building became an instant landmark in downtown Meridian and represents an excellence in high quality design, a commitment to downtown, a collaboration of various stakeholders and an example of not only doing the right thing, but doing the right thing properly.

Best Business Retention/Recruitment Program
Awarded to the downtown organization that has created and implemented the best retention and/or business recruitment program for its downtown. 

Winner: Nexus Hero: Internet Entrepreneurship Workshop
Program: Meridian Main Street
Accepting: Clay Hamilton

In partnership with The Montgomery Institute, Meridian Main Street launched The Nexus Hero: Internet Entrepreneurship Workshop webpage and started the program to help people find online employment, create an online business or expand an existing online business. 

Nexus Hero helps individuals and communities identify where they can improve their services to the community within existing budgets. The program has brought revenue from outside the community into it and helped improve the local economy and quality of life.

Spirit of Main Street
(1 of 2)
This award usually recognizes a youth or adult in a community who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown.
Winner: Biloxi Historic City Cemetery Tour
Program: Biloxi Main Street
Accepting: Kay Miller

Each October, the Biloxi Historic City Cemetery Tour literally breathes life into the history and culture of Biloxi.  After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the event was created to celebrate and showcase the rehabilitation of the Biloxi City Cemetery and to educate and entertain the public and preserve Biloxi’s history from the past 312 years. With graves dating back to the late 1700s, the Biloxi Cemetery, with its breath-taking view of the Gulf of Mexico, allows Biloxi High School drama students, Biloxi Little Theatre actors, and Biloxi descendants to bring history back to life. 

A new theme is selected each year and individuals to portray are chosen accordingly.  The theme for the 2010 tour, “The Immigrants—Biloxi’s Melting Pot,” showcased individuals of varying ethnicities who came to the shores of Biloxi in search of their destinies. The doubling and tripling crowd sizes testify to the quality and necessity of an event that entertains, enlightens and preserves the precious past of Biloxi.

Spirit of Main Street (2 of 2)
Winner: Mississippi College
Program: Main Street Clinton
Accepting: Dr. Lee Royce, MC President
Mississippi College, one of Main Street Clinton’s Bedrock Founding Partners, has demonstrated its commitment to Main Street Clinton’s mission of downtown revitalization.  The university has been generous, not only with financial support, but also by providing people-power, time, and physical resources. 
Several members of Mississippi College’s distinguished faculty have served on the Main Street Clinton board, and by the end of the 2011, Mississippi College’s financial investment to the Main Street Clinton program will total $34,000. That support will continue with $5,000 annually to the Main Street Clinton program.
Mississippi College leased one of its properties in Olde Towne Clinton to Cups Espresso Café, which has become a favorite gathering place for students and adults, and is an integral part of the Olde Towne experience, hosting Main Street events such as “Back to the Bricks” and “Spring Into Green.”

Through the leadership of MC President Dr. Lee Royce, Mississippi College has caught the vision for downtown Clinton and pledged its support to help make Clinton the town where MC graduates would love to call home after graduation.

Charles was one of the founding board members of MMSA and served on the Board and in various officer positions, including President.  “Charlie” was Board Member Emeritus at the time of his death in 2007 and had served Main Street since it was founded in 1989.

This award is a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Main Street Conference, given to a Main Street Manager who has shown outstanding service to their community and program.  The scholarship is awarded annually and nominations must come from the District Directors of MMSA.

All proceeds from the 2011 Silent Auction support the annual Charles Beasley Scholarship Award Fund.

Recipient: Rebecca Davis, Pascagoula Main Street

Rebecca Davis has been the Manager of the Pascagoula Main Street Association since 2002. During her tenure, Pascagoula’s Main Street program has grown and accomplished many things…including overcoming flooding and storm damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Over these years, Rebecca has grown and become a leader within her community as well as among the Main Street Managers across the state.

Pascagoula Main Street has consistently been an award-winning program.  Some important recent projects have included a Master Façade Grant program, the Anchor Square Cottage Row retail business incubator, and working with the City of Pascagoula to develop the waterfront Riverwalk in the Main Street District.

Rebecca is the Special Event’s coordinator for all the promotions and events that make Pascagoula’s downtown a destination for residents and visitors. Some of Pascagoula’s successful events include the Krebs Cemetery Tour, Trunk or Treat, Cruisin’ the Coast, Zonta Arts and Crafts Festival, Downtown for the Holidays, Children’s Easter Parade and the Live Oaks Festival. Plus, stay tuned for the first Pascagoula UFO Festival in 2012!

Rebecca has many talents and skills.  However, the thing that stands out the most is her passion: Passion for God, passion for her family and, most definitely, passion for her community. This passion for community is what has allowed her to so successfully guide Pascagoula’s Main Street district into a renaissance period after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca puts her whole heart into everything she does, and Pascagoula and Mississippi Main Street have been very lucky to have her share that heart with all of us.

Rebecca’s co-worker and long-time board member, Liz Ford said:

“Rebecca brings a particular uniqueness to the position of Pascagoula Main Street Manager. Her enthusiasm is contagious and the word ‘no’ is not in her vocabulary. She has no fear and will ask anyone for anything. She gives 110% percent of her self, at the least, and expects the same from her Board, and volunteers, most of whom will walk on coals for her. Compassionate, she will take every sob story to heart, and to the best of her ability, will single-handedly right every wrong. Open to new ideas and suggestions, she will take the ball and run with it. I would think the hardest job in the world would be working for Rebecca as there is no way on earth anyone can keep up with her! These attributes make her irreplaceable as Pascagoula’s Main Street Manager.”

Click here to view winners from 2010
Click here to view winners from 2009
Click here to view winners from 2008


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