Main Street Blog
<h2>Last Board Meeting of 2016 held in Carthage</h2>

Last Board Meeting of 2016 held in Carthage

Photo: Russell Baty, director of The Leake County Main Street Chamber and Suzanne Smith, MMSA Board President


The last Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) board meeting of 2016 was held Dec. 8 in Carthage, Miss. The board was invited to meet at The Leake County Main Street Chamber on the historic Carthage Square. Carthage Main Street and the Carthage Chamber of Commerce merged in 2016, and the organization became county-wide to include Carthage, Walnut Grove and Lena. This is only the second county-wide Main Street Chamber in Mississippi with the other being the Pontotoc County Main Street Chamber.


Mayor Jimmy Wallace welcomed the state board members to his city and commented that much progress has been made since the Main Street program was designated and had a charrette 10 years ago. He mentioned the downtown improvements, upgrading the parks, the new food and beverage sales tax, and job growth as indicators of success.


"Main Street has been a shining star in what we have done in Carthage," Mayor Wallace said. "Russell does a great job with the Main Street program…he's a real bulldog."


Russell Baty directs The Leake County Main Street Chamber and Penny Alford is his assistant. Michelle McCann is the board president and greeted the MMSA board members as well. McCann commented that she had served on the board for both Main Street and the Chamber when they were separate organizations, and she said it was the best decision for the two entities to merge.  She also commented on the job growth and the support from major businesses, like Baptist Medical Center where she works, for the Main Street Chamber.


"We recently hired two family practitioners, and that is huge for this small town. Both of these doctors were born and raised here and wanted to come back home," McCann said.


After the board meeting, The Leake County Main Street Chamber treated MMSA board and staff members to hot Mexican tortilla soup and toppings, mini sandwiches, pound cake and Christmas petit fours made by the bakery on the Square owned by Baty and his wife.


Following lunch, Baty led Suzanne Smith, MMSA Board President, on a tour of the Square and pointed out improvements made. Through several grants, the entire streetscape of the Square has been renovated, and the resulting curb-outs, brick sidewalks, lighting and signage make for a very comfortable and inviting stroll. Most of the buildings have been fixed up and are filled with businesses. The few vacancies had charming Christmas displays in the windows. Merry holiday music played through speakers along the streets of downtown.


The Square was bustling, and even though the board meeting had ended, there was still much going on in downtown. A ribbon cutting for a new business was being held that afternoon, and many businesses had extended shopping hours that evening. The Chamber Main Street handed out a book of coupons from stores advertising discounts and specials.


All in all, the City of Carthage and specifically downtown Carthage, looked polished and bright for the board's December meeting. Thank you to the Leake County Main Street Chamber and the City of Carthage for hosting the MMSA board and staff and sending us home with warm, full bellies and a good bit of Christmas spirit!


Jeannie Zieren


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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
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P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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