The Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation (GBNF) works on long-range plans for the development and preservation of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood. This dual purpose requires GBNF to keep Greater Belhaven’s character intact through restoration and preservation and to encourage beneficial development in the area. Using the Mississippi Main Street model, GBNF works to improve the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood by working closely with private and public entities to improve roads, parks and attract and retain businesses and planning new developments that will enhance our historic, near-downtown neighborhood.
The most recent achievement of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood is the reclamation and improvement of Belhaven Park. What was once an unsafe, overgrown ditch is now an urban oasis, enjoyed by people from all over the city. It is now a cornerstone of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood. We are also excited about the 180,000 square-foot development being planned by Baptist Health Systems in the neighborhood. Baptist and the hospital have been working on this collaborative effort for nearly five years. Construction should begin mid-2011.
The annual neighborhood street festival, Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, celebrated its 6th year in 2010. Bright Lights is an event that showcases all things that the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood has to offer. This year, the festival area was twice as big in area as the festival was its first year. The event has grown from a neighborhood event to an event enjoyed by people across the state and beyond. This year the festival featured more than 20 artists and artisans and 18 bands.
Our newest project is our Outdoor Movie Series, which began in December with the showing of the movie, Elf. The series is underwritten by Jones, Funderburg, Sessums, Peterson & Lee law firm. The firm purchased the projector and screen and has agreed to fully fund the movie series for at least a year. Nejam Properties donated a sound system for the series. The second movie will be in March.
We also are launching, along with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, a tour based on the book, The Help. This New York Times Bestseller has put a spotlight on Jackson and Greater Belhaven, and Book Club members from across the nation are traveling here to tour the sights mentioned in Kathryn Stockett’s book, which is being made into a movie. We are turning this into an opportunity to promote our City and neighborhood in a positive way. You can download Greater Belhaven’s The Help tour brochure from the GBNF website at http://www.greaterbelhaven.com. To schedule a tour, contact Mary Current at 601-960-1891.
Photo by Frank Ezelle: Listening to great music in the front yard of the Grubbs’ home at Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights 2010.