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OUR OPINION: Organizations, individuals deserve credit for community work
Daily Journal

The work to revitalize, enhance and promote communities across Mississippi is often done by dedicated community leaders whose efforts can easily go unheralded.

These leaders work mostly behind the scenes in cities and towns throughout our state to make sure that both residents and visitors alike have a significant level of quality of life in terms of resources, events and a number of other items.

The reality is that the success of communities across our state, and certainly of those throughout Northeast Mississippi, relies on talented and devoted people who care about the work they do.

Thankfully, not all of their work has to go unnoticed.

Last week, many of those leaders, as well as the projects they have invested time and energy into, were recognized on the state level at the Mississippi Main Street Association’s annual awards program.

The annual awards luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

MMSA has 50 active Main Street cities throughout the state, seven Downtown Network members, and numerous Associate, Allied professional members and Friends of Main Street.

The awards and their winners, program/town and recipient in Northeast Mississippi are:

  • Outstanding Community Education Campaign: Bicycle Sculpture Project, Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Assoc., Dr. Lee Waltress.
  • Outstanding Creative Fundraiser: West Point Pickers, West Point Main Street, Lisa Klutts.
  • Creative New Event: Night Market; Starkville Main Street Association, Jennifer Prather.
  • Outstanding Public Improvement Project: 1st Choice Bank Gateway on the Trail, Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Assoc., Mayor Jeff Stafford.
  • Outstanding New Business: The Thirsty Devil, Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, Debbie Brangenberg.
  • Outstanding Community Transformation: Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail, Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, Debbie Brangenberg.
  • Main Street Hero: Sam Jaynes, Aberdeen Main Street; Dr. Miriam Clark, Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Assoc.; The Reed Family, Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
  • Main Street Trailblazer: Kristen Stevens, West Point Main Street.

The collection of awards listed above represents weeks, months and, in some cases, years of work by community leaders and involved residents.

Recognition for the work on the Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail is a perfect example of a community-wide effort that took years – 11 to be exact – to accomplish.

The $11.5 million-project was funded by the City of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program and a $2.3 million transportation enhancement grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Apart from its primary mission of connecting downtown Tupelo to the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the project also sought to transform portions of Main Street into a more pedestrian-friendly area with the hopes of increasing commerce for retail businesses and restaurants.

All the organizations and individuals honored last week deserve a standing ovation for the work they’ve done to benefit our communities. It’s because of people like you that Northeast Mississippi continues to be such a vibrant part of our state.


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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