Brick sidewalks weaving down landscaped walkways with Victorian lighting makes Cleveland, Mississippi an escape from big city hassles. In 1990, Cleveland became a Mississippi Main Street community to enhance its authentic flair.
“Cleveland is a prime example of Mississippi’s Creative Economy at work,” said Lisa Cooley, manager of Cleveland Main Street. “We have a very prominent art community, from live music events that feature up and coming musicians to art galleries, our art alliance, the new Grammy Museum and more.”
In the heart of the Delta this vibrant community, with the help of the Mississippi Main Street Association, is building a thriving downtown of rich history with a modern flair.
“We recently held a charrette that helped us to create an amazing master plan for our community. I cannot say enough about the quality of this plan. Our community leaders say this is the best long-range plan they’ve ever seen for Cleveland,” Cooley said.
Main Street has worked to revamp Cleveland since the ‘90s. Over the last 10 years, the thriving downtown has seen a lot of development. A number of young business owners are putting a stamp on Cleveland’s culture.
“A great project we took on this year was called ‘Cleveland Bites.’ It was basically like a taste of event where area restaurants provided samples of their popular dishes to participants,” Cooley said. “We held the event in an alley downtown. It included live music, food from over 25 restaurants, prizes and more. We charged $15 to get in and used all proceeds to start a façade grant program.”
Along with raising money for new façades for businesses in Cleveland, Cleveland Main Street worked to clean up alleys of the downtown.
“We removed graffiti, painted doors and added business names and addresses, removed weeds and overgrown bushes/trees, added gravel for rear parking, and more,” Cooley said. “The project was actually awarded best community cleanup by Keep America Beautiful.”
Cleveland has become a popular spot and is hosting the upcoming Mississippi Main Street Design training on May 27-28.
“[Cleveland has] great food, great shopping, great people. I think everyone will enjoy our hip little town in the Mississippi Delta,” Cooley said.
By Sarah Park Douglass
MMSA PR Intern, Spring 2015