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On Thursday, April 20, the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) recognized the town of Byhalia, Miss., as a Downtown Network Member of the statewide association.

The Town of Byhalia and the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) had the opportunity to apply for the Mississippi Downtown Network Membership, and the MMSA Board of Directors unanimously approved the application.

"The Town of Byhalia Aldermen joined me by approving to submit an application for the Downtown Network Membership with the Mississippi Main Street Association," said Mayor Phil Malone, Mayor of Byhalia. "We are motivated after being aware of the benefits of the Main Street program through the Mississippi Municipal League, Mississippi Development Authority, and the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce as well as from the Mississippi towns and cities participating in the program."

"We appointed a Byhalia Advisory Council in 2015 to address many of the issues and resources needed to improve the downtown area and the scope of development for the town. After struggling with the approach and the communication of the need to our community, I suggested we look to Mississippi Main Street," Malone said. “My long term goals are to expand to become a Certified Main Street Community and expand the efforts, growth and development to the major interchanges of Highway I-69 at Highway 309 and to Highway I-22 at Highway 309."

Byhalia has been an Associate Member of MMSA since 1998. In 2011, Byhalia received a Vision Plan Charrette from MMSA with grant funding provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission.  The Downtown Network membership affords the town more services from MMSA with the opportunity to progress to the Certified Main Street Membership within three years.

“After we revisit the Vision Plan from the charrette in 2011, I see Byhalia being a destination for the region with the development of the Old School Commons, the parks, and the downtown area," Malone added.

Jeannie Waller Zieren, MMSA Director of Training and Information Services, presented the town with a certificate at the BACC Membership Luncheon held at The Flame/Byhalia United Methodist Church on April 20 and welcomed the community into the Mississippi Main Street network.

"As a Downtown Network Member of MMSA, Byhalia is also joining Main Street America as an Affiliate Member. Our greatest strength is the network we provide with other local, state and national programs. We are impressed with the momentum in Byhalia and believe their membership in the state and national Main Street programs will only serve to further their momentum and success," Zieren said.

“I applaud Mayor Malone and the Aldermen for having the vision to move forward with the Four Point Approach of Main Street," said Sarah Sawyer, Executive Director of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce. "Byhalia and the Marshall County Area has the greatest potential to be one of the best in the region. We plan to focus on the strengths and work on the weaknesses.”  

“With the BACC, the goals and objectives are in place to take Main Street and merge it with these efforts and plans. I appreciate the Chamber Board of Directors and the Byhalia Advisory Council for staying the course and having the dedication to work for a better place,” Sawyer said.

“The people are the biggest asset. With a Vision Plan to identify issues, direction and resources, the people will come together. Communication is key to any new program, idea or plan but mainly, pride in what we have to share with others.”


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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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Mississippi Main Street is a program of the National Main Street
Center and the Mississippi Development Authority