2014 AWARD WINNERS:
Best Façade Rehabilitation over $10,000
This award recognizes the best single façade renovation project over $10,000 that enhances the commercial district and encourages further design improvements.
Winner: The Grover Hotel Team Cleveland Main Street
Accepting the award – Eric Kelly Lisa Cooley, Manager
The Grover Hotel, built in 1927, was primarily used by train and river workers who stopped in Cleveland to rest and unwind. It stood vacant and condemned since the early 1980’s until it was purchased by developer Raymond Huerta who converted the building into 16 one and two-bedroom condos and three rental facilities on the ground level. Since completion of the project in the summer of 2013, all but two of the condos have been sold and the Huertas are in negotiations for the last of the three retail spaces. The structure has been transformed from an eye-sore to the anchor of Cleveland’s downtown. A once-empty city block is now thriving.
Best Façade Rehabilitation under $10,000
This award recognizes the best single façade renovation project under $10,000 that enhances the commercial district and encourages further design improvements.
Winner: Wilbourn Building Revitalization Batesville Main Street
Accepting the award - Angela Clanton Colleen Clark, Manager
Built in 1930, the Wilbourn Building stood vacant for two years until purchased by Vicki and Jack Cobb in 2013. The Wilbourn Building rehabilitation is a close representation of the architectural illustration proving that the method of providing program participants with an architectural illustration as a design directive to be effective. Jack Cobb, a novice builder, performed most of the renovation work himself at a time he battled a life-threatening illness. The Wilbourn Building is now a multi-use facility, housing professional offices along with conference and event rental spaces, and has served as an example and catalyst for other downtown Batesville business owners.
Best Historic Rehabilitation Project
This award is presented to an individual or business that has completed an outstanding historic preservation project that maintains and enhances the use of the building in a downtown district.
Winner: The Thompson House Leland Chamber of Commerce
Accepting the award – Mary Boteler Melia Christensen, Manager
In February 2013, six couples from Leland, Mississippi, formed a partnership and purchased The Thompson House in the Leland Historic District. The home was in disrepair but maintained a place of prominence in the town’s history. The partnership of six couples set out to restore it as a Bed & Breakfast and event center, and after nearly five months of renovations, The Thompson House welcomed its first guests.
All restorations were done with local labor and adhered to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitation. It has been furnished with antiques that reflect the 1920s and earlier periods of the home. With the Highway 61 Blues Museum, Jim Henson Exhibit, beautiful Deer Creek and many popular restaurants, Leland’s visitors now have the ability to extend their visit beyond just a day trip.
Best New Signage
This award recognizes excellence in signage design, craftsmanship, creativity and overall impact on its building or entryway to the downtown.
Winner: Starkville Wayfinding Signage Greater Starkville Development Partnership
Accepting the award – Jennifer Gregory Jennifer Gregory, Manager
Starkville Main Street Association (SMSA) underwent a charrette process in April 2011, and one project that was immediately taken up was Wayfinding. Starkville Main Street’s Design Committee met frequently to create a strategic, multi-phased plan that guided visitors from gateways into the community, identified by the charrette, to Downtown Starkville, Mississippi State University, and destinations within. The strategic purpose of the signage system was to better connect Downtown with the University. SMSA looked to consultant Tripp Muldrow with Arnett Muldrow & Associates to put the finishing touches on the plan. Eleven wayfinding signs were installed as part of Phase I of the comprehensive plan.
Best Public Improvement Project
This award is given to the municipality or Main Street program that has designed and implemented attractive and sympathetic improvements to its downtown district.
Square Renovations Phase One Carthage Main Street
Accepting the award – Russell Baty Russell Baty, Manager
Phase One of the Square Renovations is the first of a two-phase project to renovate the Courthouse Square in Downtown Carthage, designed to make the Square more pedestrian friendly. The plan calls for widening sidewalks, installing new lighting, and adding green space throughout downtown. Phase one deals with Court Street on the eastern side of the Square.
The project called for plantings of holly trees and rosemary in planters strategically placed at the foot of 6 new light poles, which provide additional lighting, making the area a safe place to walk in the evening.
A small rock garden was added and has immediately become a place for kids to play as well as a place for local photographers to shoot portraits. Phase Two of this project will get underway in late 2014 and will include the rest of the Courthouse Square.
ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING AWARDS
Best Adaptive Re-Use Project
This award is granted to the best adaptive reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.
Winner: Crawdad Hole, Jr. Water Valley Main Street
Accepting the award – Alexis Bullock Showah Mickey Howley, Manager
The 1933 service station sat abandoned for years on the south end of Main Street, the first historic structure one sees entering downtown Water Valley. The last owner abandoned it, the bank would not re-possess it, and the owner who bought it sight unseen at the tax auction refused to title it. Why? No one wanted the possible EPA issues in their name until Alexis Bullock came along. She thought this old gas station was ideal as the place for her first business, a restaurant, and so in a methodical and determined manner, the building and grounds were cleaned, allowing her to purchase it EPA certified safe.
Three years later the pneumatic bell “ding-dings” again as customers walk up past the pumps, but they’re filling up on high-test crawfish and local Yalobusha brew. Crawdad Hole Jr. has been in Food & Wine Magazine and Preservation Magazine as a great place to eat well when you’re in the Valley.
The Spirit of the Creative Economy – Presented by Malcolm White, MDA Tourism Director
In honor of this year being declared by Gov. Phil Bryant a “Mississippi Homecoming: The Year of the Creative Economy,” this award goes to the nominated project that best represents the spirit of Mississippi’s Creative Economy.
Winner: The Winery at Williams Landing Main Street Greenwood
Accepting the award – Lonnie Bailey Brantley Snipes, Manager
In 1907, the City of Greenwood built its first dedicated, permanent fire station to accommodate the horse-drawn fire buggy in use at the time. In the 1940s, the City provided the building to The American Red Cross for use as office space until 1998. It was vacated in 1998 and quickly began to deteriorate. It was rescued by Lonnie and Debbie Bailey of Greenwood in the fall of 2012 because they thought it would be an ideal location to start the Mississippi Native Winery that they had planned for several years.
With the assistance of Beard + Riser Architects, the Fire Station was renovated in 2013 according to the National Park Service’s Guidelines for Historic Renovations. Now, within this hallowed, restored, historic space, the Baileys create custom wines and wine blends from only Mississippi grown figs, blueberries and muscadines.
Winner: Best New Development Project
Awarded to an individual or business that has undertaken a new development project within a downtown district. The project should not only achieve financial success and quality design, but also have a positive impact on downtown revitalization
Renasant Bank Greater Starkville Development Partnership
Accepting the Award – Jennifer Gregory Jennifer Gregory, Manager
Completing revitalization of a heavily trafficked intersection in Downtown Starkville is the newly constructed Renasant Bank. It sits just east of Central Station, a mixed-use re-development of the former Borden Milk Plant, and is adjacent to Fire Station Park, a public park recently renovated by a Mississippi Development Authority Creative Economy Grant.
The multi-million dollar investment not only adds a tremendous amount of money to the City’s tax rolls, but the project impacted the local market. President of Starkville’s Renasant Bank, Tommy Tomlinson, made a commitment to use all local products and subcontractors, a visible commitment that Renasant Bank was here to support the Starkville community. The bank not only fulfills its purpose of a financial institution, but is also a welcome addition to a vibrant and bustling Downtown Starkville.
Best Community Collaborative Project
Recognizes creative joint ventures between the Main Street organization and another local, community non-profit.
Winner: Caroling on the Square Canton Chamber/Main Street
Accepting the Award – Jan Miller Jordan Hillman, Manager
For Canton’s First Annual Caroling on the Square this past Christmas, students from five of Canton’s daycare facilities journeyed around the square spreading holiday cheer to the downtown businesses each day during the week leading up to Christmas. Each morning students from five schools met at WMGO’s studio on the Canton Square to record their carols for live broadcast. The children loved visiting the station and hearing themselves on the radio.
The groups then walked the square visiting businesses on all sides. Each group wore festive outfits and sang a multitude of well-rehearsed carols. Businesses rolled out the welcome mat to these children and parents and family members were also welcomed, many commenting that they had lived in Canton all their life and had never visited many of the stores on the square.
The event was able to create a memorable community event and bring in new visitors to the businesses on the square.
Best Creative Fundraising Project
This award is granted to the downtown organization that has displayed the most creativity and success in securing funds for its downtown program or specific project.
Winner: Feast for the Farmers Downtown Tupelo Main Street
Accepting the Award – Vickey Vance Debbie Brangenberg, Manager
May of 2014 showcased the third Feast for the Farmers’ event for the Downtown Tupelo Farmers’ Market: To promote the market itself to new customers; to feature local produce; to feature local restaurant chefs; and to raise funds for upgrades to the market. Local chefs partner with local producers to create sumptuous offerings for this dinner under the market shed. Chefs and producers mix and mingle with the guests while being entertained by local musicians and musicians from the Mississippi Arts Commission roster.
Collaboration with Tupelo High School art students and the Gumtree Museum of Art resulted in a farm-themed mural, a “Tupelo Quality of Life” grant was obtained to replace the roof on the market shed, and the remainder of funds generated by the event was applied toward a match for a Mayor’s Healthy Task Force grant to build a demonstration kitchen that premiered this year with the opening of the season.
Best Public-Private Partnership Project
Recognizes creative and positive joint ventures between the local government(s) and the private sector.
Winner: Off The Square Market Pontotoc County Main Street
Accepting the Award – William D. Parker Ellen Russell, Manager
Pontotoc needed a farmers market that provided a safe serviceable location, public bathrooms in the downtown area, an arena for Movies in the Park, a stage for the Artist Series and fundraiser space. An unused property was given to the City of Pontotoc by local property owners Mike and Rene Simon, to meet the needs of the citizens. Local architect “Dusty” Parker was eager to see this project meet all of Pontotoc’s needs. The Main Street Association provided a building committee and the Board of Aldermen agreed to use the tourism tax funds for this venture.
The 11 bays are wired, lighted, and cooled by ceiling fans and do not cost the farmers of Pontotoc County to use. New public restrooms are providing the town with the much-needed rest rooms, and the large green space has a natural slope to give an amphitheater feel that is perfect for movies in the park or music vendors. The season will end in October for the Saturday Markets, but plans are to use the area for more events throughout the year.
Best Image or Branding Promotion – TIE
This award recognizes the downtown organization that has developed an effective public relations piece or promotional campaign.
Winner (1 of 2):
Downtown Tupelo Main Street: American Rhythm Accepting the Award – Debbie Brangenberg, Manager
Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association needed a branding statement and collateral materials that would capture the essence of Tupelo but also establish downtown as the core of activity around which all the entities thrive. The Muldrow brothers of Arnett Muldrow & Associates developed the new branding slogan “American Rhythm, True Southern Spirit,” a powerful branding statement and style guide.
A talented local videographer, John Wee, produced an outstanding video based on the branding statement for use with business recruiting and community education, as well as a 60 second television spot. Other collateral pieces include a visitor’s guide designed by Webz Designs, emoticons for social media, an updated header on the website, event logos and print advertisements. All have increased awareness of downtown Tupelo as “the place to be.”
Winner: Best Image or Branding Promotion – TIE
Winner (2 of 2): Greenwood: That’s So Delta Main Street Greenwood
Accepting the Award – Brantley Snipes Brantley Snipes, Manager
Main Street Greenwood was one of six entities to participate in a branding campaign for the entire Greenwood community. Each of the involved organizations was seeking to creatively promote Greenwood but were using vastly different brands, taglines and logos.
Through a grant from the Foundation for the Mid-South, and with assistance from Community Design Solutions and Arnett Muldrow, Main Street Greenwood joined with the City of Greenwood, Leflore County, the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Foundation, and the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau to develop a community tagline which celebrates the unique culture that is Greenwood. A coordinated set of logos for each organization was created and tied together with common elements. The Main Street Greenwood logo was also updated. All marketing materials use the “That’s So Delta” tagline to show collaboration and uniformity among the organizations.
Best Retail Promotion
This award honors the downtown organization that has developed an effective retail promotion in conjunction with downtown merchants.
Winner: Doubloon Deals Biloxi Main Street
Accepting the Award – Kay Carter Kay Carter, Manager
Downtown Doubloons offer special deals at participating Downtown Biloxi businesses and restaurants. They are picked up at the Biloxi Visitors Center and honored by shops and restaurants that display the Downtown Doubloon sign. There is no need to surrender the doubloon. Use it over and over again as long as the special promotion is offered. The Downtown Doubloon has resulted in more traffic and increased sales in downtown Biloxi.
Best Special Event
This award recognizes the downtown organization that has created a quality special event, generating traffic for the downtown.
Winner: Delta Hot Tamale Festival Main Street Greenville
Accepting the Award – Valerie Lee, Ann Martin & Betty Lynn Cameron Betty Lynn Cameron, Manager
The Delta Hot Tamale Festival is a three-day celebration of everything hot tamale: hot tamale cooking and eating contests, the crowning of Miss Hot Tamale, book signings by well-known writers, a celebrity chefs’ hot tamale cook-off, storytelling, a parade, arts and crafts, a food symposium, three stages featuring a variety of home-grown Delta musicians, and plenty of hot tamales to satisfy the appetite.
The Festival expanded to three days this year with the addition of the Literary/Culinary Mashup featuring invited Southern published writers and chefs. The festival is creating renewed interest and vigor to the downtown area. Several new businesses have opened and eleven building facades have been renovated. Two major renovation projects are underway on strategic buildings in the downtown. Greenville has learned that “You can’t say ‘Hot Tamales’ without smiling!” Just ask anyone who attends!
Main Street Merchant of the Year
Recognizes excellence in the retail field. This award goes to a merchant who has been a “mover and a shaker” in downtown revitalization.
Winner: Alexe van Beuren Water Valley Main Street
Accepting the Award – Alexe van Beuren Mickey Howley, Manager
Alexe van Beuren never imagined she would one day sell tomatoes of every hue and variety in a small town in north Mississippi, and love it… most of the time. Nor could she think that she’d own and work in a 140-year-old building that had been one step away from demolition and think it was great. But she does and any given day in Water Valley, Mississippi you will find Alexe in that old building selling tomatoes, and doing so much more: buying and picking up direct from the farmers, running the register, handling the phone, serving food, bussing tables, stocking shelves, putting the sign outside, blasting the daily special e-mail, checking the quality control and happy.
Alexe has been named a Top 50 businesswoman in Mississippi and appeared in a feature article in the New York Times. She has written her own cookbook published by Random House–with BTC chef extraordinaire Dixie Grimes. Alexe never imagined any of this 7 years ago when as the first project of the Water Valley Main Street, she started the local Farmers Market. That is how it can work on a Main Street where creative economy is embraced and there is a will to “Be The Change” you wish to see in the world.
Sam Kaye Excellence in Design Award
Sam was an architect and community leader who served Mississippi Main Street Association as a staff member and design consultant from 1994 until his death in 2013. As a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sam’s involvement in historic preservation was nationally known and recognized. This award is given to the design professional(s) or firm that exhibits the spirit, compassion and talent of the man for whom the award is named.
Winner: Larry Albert, Albert and Associates Architects Accepting the Award – Larry Albert
Walt Denton, Manager Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association
Larry Albert is a Hattiesburg native who graduated from MSU in 1978 with a degree in architecture and went on to work with prestigious firms nationally and internationally. In 1986, Larry and his wife chose to return home to open a firm in Hattiesburg. Projects completed include the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County, the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, the USM Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building, Parkway Hills United Methodist Church, the Salvation Army Chapel, the Perry and Lamar County Courthouse, the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, the Beauvoir and Jefferson Davis Library and Museum, the Saenger Theater and work with the Hattiesburg Zoo.
Larry’s firm has received more than two dozen design awards, and the firm’s work on the Library earned the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Design of Public Space. The firm is currently working such projects as the USM Union Renovation and Addition, as well as USM Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland. On a local level, Larry has been involved with several organizations, including serving as Past President of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association.
Special Service Award – Private Sector
This award recognizes a citizen from the private sector who has contributed leadership and support for downtown, and who best represents commitment to the goal of revitalization.
Winner: Stephanie Patton Leland Chamber of Commerce
Accepting the Award – Mary Boteler Melia Christensen, Manager
(for Stephanie Patton)
As the owner, editor and publisher of the local paper, The Leland Progress, Stephanie Patton believes that a paper exists to benefit the town. Rather than engaging in “gotcha!” journalism, she works with city leaders to understand the issues and report them responsibly. Stephanie has been a key driver in several economic development initiatives. Leland received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2013 to provide planning assistance for a new community park space, and Stephanie led that effort. She has also led the effort to create a new museum in town, and together with the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation Board has secured over $350,000 in funding from our state legislature and an official state designation for the project. She is actively involved with many local and regional organizations, and serves as President of the Leland Chamber of Commerce, Leland Main Street Association and Leland Rotary Club. She is Secretary of the Greenville Arts Council Board and serves on the boards of the Washington County EDC and the Delta Council. If there ever was someone who embodied the spirit of community revitalization, it’s Stephanie.
Special Service Award – Public Official
This award recognizes an elected or public official who has contributed leadership and support for downtown, and who best represents commitment to the goal of revitalization.
Mayor Billy Nowell Lisa Cooley, Manager
Accepting the Award – Mayor Billy Nowell Team Cleveland Main Street
Mayor Billy Nowell and the Board of Aldermen in Cleveland provide funding each year so that the Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce can house the Main Street Program. He has worked to add brick stamped sidewalks throughout downtown, add a walking trail that runs down the green strip downtown, add a bike trail that leads from a residential area to downtown, add planters with seasonal flowers, replace benches and trash receptacles along the bike trail that leads to downtown, add and maintain the rose gardens that are scattered throughout downtown, recruit and find funding for a Grammy Museum, fund the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum, purchase and manage the old train depot downtown, and most importantly, to recruit businesses to the downtown.
Mayor Nowell understands the importance of a thriving downtown. He attends festivals, open houses, volunteers at cleanup events, and is in attendance at any meeting to which he is invited. In addition to his part-time job as the mayor, Billy Nowell is a businessman, father, husband, grandfather, active church member, active Delta State University volunteer and more. Thank you for your exemplary public service, Mayor Nowell!
Spirit of Main Street (1 of 4)
A Main Street program may nominate one volunteer who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown and the Main Street program.
Winner: Erin Napier Laurel Main Street
Accepting the Award – Erin Napier Judi Holifield, Manager
Named by Mississippi Magazine as one of the five creative women making a national impact, Erin Napier has made her mark on the design world. Her company, Lucky Luxe, has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and Brides, and numerous other prestigious publications have also showcased her talent.
Perhaps most inspiring is that she maintains an active involvement in the Laurel community; Laurel Main Street has undertaken a number of projects with her vital input and assistance. Erin designed the banners prominently displayed along the streets of downtown Laurel and designed the brochure that displays the elegance of Laurel as “The City Beautiful.” She is also responsible for the mural that welcomes visitors to downtown Laurel. Erin Napier has generously given her time and talent to further Laurel’s continued success and beauty.
Spirit of Main Street (2 of 4)
Winner: Lawson Grimes Aberdeen Main Street
Accepting the Award – Lawson Grimes Ann Tackett, Manager
When the new Aberdeen Main Street Manager was hired in August 2013, the job was overwhelming, but Lawson Grimes came to the rescue. As a retired public school administrator and florist, and a very active civic-minded person, he became the perfect volunteer for Aberdeen Main Street. Whether it is bushes that need to be fertilized, a flower bed that needs a little sprucing up, a flag that has fallen or a suggestion for a new project, he is the “go to” person.
Main Street is not Mr. Grimes’ only passion. He also spends countless hours volunteering for the Aberdeen Animal Shelter, attending the Rotary Club, and being an active member of the Historic Preservation Commission. These projects are quite an accomplishment for a young man of 76 years of age! Aberdeen Main Street is proud to call Mr. Grimes family and continues to be excited about his next project and/or idea. He truly is a shining example of the Spirit of Main Street.
Spirit of Main Street (3 of 4)
Winner: Mike Bryan Amory Main Street
Accepting the Award – Mike Bryan Carol Knight, Manager
All Main Street associations have volunteers who work tirelessly to help out, but none of the others have Mike Bryan! Born in April of 1951, Mike came into this world with a few complications. Not knowing back then what his complications would later be labeled as, he continued on with a normal life with the help of his siblings. As an adult and with the help of his sister, Lady, Mike was finally evaluated and diagnosed with Intellectual Disabilities and Epilepsy. This did not slow him down.
Mike is known in the city for his knowledge of Amory and his willingness to help in any way possible. He lives in downtown Amory, so he is within walking distance of Main Street and no matter the weather, Amory Main Street can always count on Mike. From passing out flyers to helping change flags and banners, he is always ready to serve. Mike is the “go to guy” for information about downtown, can always find out what anyone needs to know, and is always willing and able to be a part of any and every thing going on in downtown Amory.
Spirit of Main Street (4 of 4)
Winner: Nancy Kidd New Albany Main Street
Accepting the Award – Nancy Kidd Vickie Duke, Manager
Nancy Kidd was instrumental in the creation of the New Albany Main Street program in 1996, serving the community on the New Albany Main Street Association Board since its inception. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Board, member of the Economic Restructuring Committee and a volunteer at Main Street events. She has shown creative approaches to revitalization challenges and made significant lasting contributions to the community.
Nancy is the Marketing Director for Baptist Memorial Hospital in New Albany and is always looking at opportunities to incorporate Historic Downtown in her marketing plans for the hospital or when recruiting new doctors. She partners with Main Street with events such as Girls Day Out and Breast Cancer Awareness luncheons to promote the downtown businesses.
Nancy truly represents the Spirit of Main Street and carries the mission of Main Street with her each day.
“Excellence in Main Street” Manager Scholarship (2)
Presented to Main Street Managers who have shown excellent service to their communities and downtown programs. This year, two Main Street Managers will receive a $500 scholarship to attend the regional “Destination Downtown” conference. Established in 2012, the award comes from nominations from the District Directors of MMSA and is supported by proceeds from the annual scholarship fundraiser.
Winner (1 of 2): Kay Carter, Biloxi Main Street
Kay Carter is one of our most seasoned Main Street managers. She has overseen Biloxi Main Street through the most challenging period of Biloxi's history: through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the economic downturn and the BP oil spill. Kay’s calm and determined leadership has produced fantastic results during lean and difficult times.
Some of Kay’s accomplishments include saving and restoring the 108 year-old Bond-Grant House; the implementation of the downtown façade and landscaping grant project of 2012-13; the incubation of Gallery 782 (a 40-artist co-op, now in its 5th year), the creation of Grillin’ On The Green (one of the most successful festivals in Biloxi) and the downtown Farmers Market Festival series (now in its 3rd season).
Through her naturally positive disposition and approach, Kay has always focused on the great potential and possibilities of downtown Biloxi and has never let negativity be a deterrent to progress. Kay’s ability to inspire volunteerism by her hands-on style and gain cooperation with her can-do spirit is the main reason Biloxi Main Street has had phenomenal success.
“Excellence in Main Street” Manager Scholarship - Winner (2 of 2): Kim Hopkins, Vicksburg Main Street
Kim Hopkins started as a volunteer with Vicksburg’s Fall Festival and is now the seasoned Executive Director of the Vicksburg Main Street Program. Kim says her role with Main Street is such an exciting and entertaining job because no two days are the same. She is a team player who wears several hats that she has to change at a moment’s notice, and, of course, she multi-tasks. She works with a Main Street Board that is proud of her and a supportive City Administration that understands the importance of a healthy, vibrant, and dynamic downtown.
Kim is a member of River City Cyclists and the Public Relations Association of Miss. She is President-Elect of the Miss-Lou Tourism Board and is on the Vicksburg Riverfest board. Vicksburg has seen tremendous growth with investment in commercial and residential properties, not because it magically happened, but because Kim helped make that progress a reality.
Charles O. Beasley Award “Main Street Manager of the Year”
Charlie Beasley was one of the founding members of MMSA and served on the Board and in various officer positions, including President. He was Board Member Emeritus at the time of his death in 2007 and had served Main Street since its inception in 1989. This award is a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Main Streets Conference, given to a Main Street Manager who has shown outstanding service to his or her community and Main Street program. The scholarship is awarded annually and nominations come from the MMSA District Directors.
Winner: Ellen Russell, Pontotoc County Main Street
Ellen Henry Russell is a lifelong resident of Pontotoc County. She has been married to Don Russell for over 40 years. Don and Ellen are both graduates of Pontotoc High School and the University of Mississippi. They have three children and two grandsons who all live in Pontotoc.
Ellen is a former teacher and she and Don were owners and operators of a local business for many years. Ellen became involved with the Chamber in 1987 as a volunteer where she spearheaded projects like Youth Leadership, parades, festivals and beautification efforts.
When Pontotoc decided to form a Main Street organization, Ellen was the natural choice to lead that effort. Ellen became the Pontotoc County Main Street Director in 2007 with Pontotoc becoming one of the first countywide Main Street programs in the state. The Chamber and Main Street were combined in 2010 and Ellen took on the leadership role to direct both.
Ellen has motivated a host of volunteers to work the many projects that she has going in Pontotoc County including: publishing Pontotoc Magazine, promoting the new 44-mile Tanglefoot Trail which runs through Pontotoc County, coordinating Customer Appreciation Day and retail promotions, the county-wide high school Pep Rally on the Square that draws 2,000+ attendees downtown, the countywide Autumn Walking Trail, the new Off the Square Market, which hosts a weekly farmers market, outdoor movies, demonstrations and numerous other community activities, and let’s not forget to mention, coordinating FIVE Christmas parades across the county every year.
Ellen believes in and gets the community to buy into the Main Street Four Point Approach to keep the program active and successful in Pontotoc County. MMSA District Director Jan Miller said:
“Ellen is a go-getter and directs a county-wide Main Street program, which is no easy task. She is a seasoned Main Street manager and a role model for other Main Street managers who look to her for leadership. Ellen was elected by her peers to serve on the statewide Main Street board of directors from 2012-2013.”
Ellen personifies the tagline for Pontotoc: “Where family comes first and we love every second.” Congratulations, Ellen, our 2014 Charles Beasley Scholarship recipient and Outstanding Manager of the Year.
Click here to view winners from 2013
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