On Monday, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) and Project for Public Spaces (PPS) assembled some of the leading movers and shakers of the placemaking and community revitalization movements in Washington, D.C.
Among these movers was Bob Wilson, Executive Director of the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA), who was invited by the NMSC to attend the day long forum exploring the integration of placemaking in downtown revitalization.
According to the NMSC, the group – including NMSC and PPS staff, Main Street coordinators, representatives from five federal agencies, and leaders from key private and nonprofit organizations – convened to explore the connections between placemaking and Main Street and strategize around how the two movements can better address holistic community revitalization.
Interest in, and passion for, placemaking is sweeping cities. Research conducted by organizations such as the National Association of Realtors and the Sonoran Institute reveal that neighborhoods and downtowns with a real sense of place, that are designed in a way to attract and serve people, are fundamental both to quality of life and to the economic competitiveness of cities.
At the same time, the downtown revitalization field is changing in rapid ways in response to both new opportunities (especially new interest in downtown life by millennials and boomers) and new challenges (online retail, the continued success of big box shopping, and many other factors).
In light of these significant changes in the community revitalization field in recent years, the National Main Street Center is undertaking an evaluation of its framework, including the Four-Point Approach®.
Over the last 35 years, the Center has worked with more than 2,000 communities to help bring preservation-based economic revitalization strategies to downtowns and commercial districts. Updating this revitalization framework is a cornerstone of the Center’s work in 2015 and beyond, and will ensure that our network has the framework and tools required to meet 21st century revitalization challenges, while continuing to build on 35 years of remarkable success.
Thanks to the generous funding of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Foundation, NMSC and PPS for convening the group of placemaking and Main Street thought leaders, along with strategic thinkers and government partners, to focus specifically on the question of how Main Street can connect more deeply with the placemaking movement.
The NMSC will be sharing more outcomes of the convening soon, but a couple of things became immediately clear: we are living in a time that is ripe for community-driven economic development – and that taking full advantage of this moment will require bold action.
Lori Tucker of Baldwyn, Miss. has been elected the 2015-2016 Manager Representative of the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) Board of Directors.
Tucker has served as the Director of the Baldwyn Main Street Chamber since 2008.
The MMSA board is made up of a statewide group of business, government and community leaders. Two positions on the board are reserved for manager representatives, who are elected by their Main Street manager peers.
The Manager Representative serves a two-year term and represents the 51 Main Street communities in Mississippi on the board.
Tucker replaces Mickey Howley of Water Valley Main Street Association who served two terms on the state board.
She joins Vickie Duke of New Albany Main Street, who is serving through 2015 as a Manager Representative on the board.
During Tucker's tenure at Baldwyn Main Street Chamber, the association has completed a National Register of Historic Places certification, a Certified Local Government/Historic Preservation Committee, and a $550,000 revitalization/infrastructure project in downtown.
Baldwyn Main Street has also developed a façade grant program, historic downtown walking tour, and completed eight downtown historic rehabilitation projects of which four have been tax credit projects with the National Park Service and Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Tucker is a Rotarian and Woman's Club member and has served as President for both civic clubs.
She is also actively serving on the Baldwyn Main Street Players Theatre Board that organizes all productions through the Claude Gentry Theatre.
Tucker is presently serving on the Baldwyn Historic Committee and writes grants for the City of Baldwyn's historic downtown.
"My passion in life is to make my city the best place to live, work and raise your family," Tucker said.
The 2015 MMSA Board of Directors are as follows:
Board President Mark Loughman, Mississippi Power Company; Past President Joey Hudnall, Neel-Schaffer, Inc.; President-elect Suzanne Smith, Renasant Bank; Treasurer Matthew McLaughlin, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C.; Allison Beasley, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development; Hilary Burroughs, Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Steve Kelly, Board Member Emeritus; Mayor Robert E. Smith, Sr., City of Columbus; Sheila Varnado, Consultant; Wyatt Waters, Wyatt Waters Gallery; Beth Williams, The Alluvian Hotel & Spa; Mayor Chip Johnson, City of Hernando; Katie Blount, Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Leland Speed, EastGroup/Parkway Properties; Jim West, College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University; and Vickie Duke, New Albany Main Street Association.
Ex Officio Members are Brent Christensen of the Mississippi Development Authority and Alex Thomas, Mississippi Advisor to the National Trust. Designated Representatives to the board are Ken P'Pool, Mississippi Department of Archives and History; John Poros, The Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University; and Joy Foy of the Mississippi Development Authority.
JACKSON, Miss. -- On Thursday, Feb. 5, the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) will designate the city of Crystal Springs, Miss., as an official Mississippi Main Street Community.
The designation ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Railroad Park in downtown Crystal Springs. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at The Wisteria Inn (106 W. Railroad Ave. S).
Immediately following the designation, the community is invited to a reception at The Wisteria Inn.
"I'm beyond excited about Mississippi Main Street coming to Crystal Springs," said Sally Garland, Mayor of Crystal Springs. "I've seen the success of Main Street in other cities and towns."
"We look forward with eager anticipation to the wonderful progress the city of Crystal Springs will make with the help of Mississippi Main Street," Garland said.
Speakers at the designation will include: Honorable Sally Garland, Mayor of Crystal Springs; Linda Phillips, Crystal Springs Main Street Director; Joy Foy, Director of Asset Development Division, Mississippi Development Authority; and Bob Wilson, Executive Director, MMSA.
"The MMSA staff and I are so excited about working with Crystal Springs," said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. "They have a diverse and committed board, an extremely energetic and focused mayor, great leadership in the Main Street director position and one thing that is so unique--the upfront cost associated with Crystal Springs coming into the Main Street program was raised totally throughout the community with mostly $100 - $200 pledges."
"That kind of community support and buy-in will mean great things for Main Street Crystal Springs!" Wilson added.
Main Street Greenwood Celebrates 20 Years!
January 1, 2015, welcomed not only a new year, but it also marked Main Street Greenwood’s 20th anniversary of service to downtown Greenwood. Since 1995, Main Street Greenwood has been dedicated to the promotion and preservation of historic downtown Greenwood.
Main Street Greenwood has a strong history of committed service and collaboration. Former Greenwood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Janice Moor led the “larger than life effort” to establish Main Street Greenwood, according to Allan Hammons, of Hammons & Associates. The first executive director was May Whittington, who later went on to serve in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The original Main Street Greenwood offices were housed in today’s Hammons & Associates conference room.
Some of the earliest projects of Main Street Greenwood included the restoration of the clock and bell tower of the Leflore County Courthouse, the restoration of the historic Keesler Bridge, and the preservation of the Carnegie Library. Other projects have included the installation of downtown benches and the placement of bike racks around the city, as well as having the Greenwood Underpass placed on the National Register of historic places. Since its incorporation, countless façades throughout downtown Greenwood, including over 22 along the Carrollton/Johnson corridor have been restored by Main Street Greenwood.
Today’s Main Street Greenwood is a thriving non-profit organization that continues to work towards preserving downtown Greenwood through façade grant programs, tax credit initiatives and other economic development incentives for small downtown businesses. In addition to the preservation work, Main Street Greenwood also works to promote the downtown area through events such as Que on the Yazoo, Ramcat Rhythm & Brews, Art Alfresco and Red & Greenwood.
Main Street Greenwood appreciates the opportunity to have served the local community for 20 years and looks forward to many more.
Main Street Greenwood is part of the Mississippi Main Street Association and the National Main Street Association. Brantley Snipes serves as executive director. For more information on Main Street Greenwood visit: www.mainstreetgreenwood.com