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Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association semi-finalist for Great American Main Street Award

Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association finalist for Great American Main Street Award

 

Tupelo chosen out of many downtown communities from across the country             

  

TUPELO, Miss. -- Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association was announced as a Top Ten Semi-Finalist for the Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) on Sept. 1. This award is the most prestigious award a Main Street community can receive.

 

    The GAMSA continuously draws a large array of applicants from all across the nation. Three Main Street communities will be selected as overall winners for this award. The results will be announced in March 2018 at Main Street America's national convention in Kansas City, Mo. This award recognizes communities that revitalize their conventional downtown areas and create a vibrant, transformed Main Street.


    “The Great American Main Street Award is the highest recognition given out by the National Main Street Center,” said Patrice Frey, the National Main Street Center’s President and CEO.  “Each year, we look forward to celebrating the semi-finalists, who are exceptional Main Street America organizations, working to create more economically, socially, and culturally vibrant commercial districts. They are a testament to the power of the Main Street Approach, and the great potential of downtown districts in cities and towns across the country.”
    Tupelo is a vibrant, small town located in the center of the Mississippi Hills. Famous for being the birthplace of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n’ Roll still serves as strong foundation for tourism and entertainment in Downtown Tupelo.


    In their impressive 27-year history, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association has generated over $165 million in public/private investment and received over 60 awards. However, their true legacy is the impact their work has made for the people who call Tupelo home. Tupelo Main Street continues to make Tupelo an even better play to live, work and play.


    "It is an honor to be chosen a Top 10 Semi-finalist for the GAMSA award," said Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association. "Our organization has spent almost 27 years laying the foundation for a strong and successful downtown.  To be recognized nationally for our efforts acknowledges the dedication and hard work by many."

 

    "The longterm, incremental philosophy of Main Street is perfectly demonstrated by the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association,” said Jeannie Zieren, Mississippi Main Street’s director of training and information services. "With time, patience, and incredible local support and public-private partners, Downtown Tupelo is a state and now nationally-recognized, award-winning Main Street program!”


    Two Mississippi Main Street communities have received the GAMSA, Columbus in 2010 and Ocean Springs in 2013.

 

    To read more about the GAMSA semi-finalists, visit https://www.mainstreet.org/blogs/national-main-street-center/2017/09/01/your-2018-great-american-main-street-award-semi-finalists. For more information on the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, call 662.841.6598 or visit http://www.tupelomainstreet.com.

 

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Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) was created to provide economic development assistance through historic preservation to its 56 member towns, which focuses on issues embraced by the Main Street Four-Point Approach® - Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Vitality– that are designed to match resources available in Main Street communities.


 
As a Main Street America Coordinating Program, MMSA is part of a powerful, grassroots network consisting of 45 Coordinating Programs and over 1600 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. MMSA partners with the Mississippi Development Authority and several private investors in the state.

 

For more information, visit http://www.msmainstreet.com. ;


OUR OPINION: Tupelo’s Main Street deserves national attention

OUR OPINION: Tupelo's Main Street deserves national attention

Northeast Daily Journal

 

Tupelo’s Main Street is in the national spotlight after being recently named one of the top 10 semifinalists for the Great American Main Street Award.

 

Being a finalist for such a prestigious national award speaks volumes to the tremendous transformation that’s taken place on Tupelo’s Main Street over the last few years and the tireless efforts from a number of community leaders who have spearheaded those projects.

 

Each year, the National Main Street Center recognizes what it deems exceptional Main Street communities whose successes serve as a model for comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization with the Great American Main Street Award. Since the award’s inception in 1995, more than 90 Main Street programs have been honored.

 

Two Mississippi communities have won the award previously: Ocean Springs in 2013 and Columbus in 2010.

 

According to Main Street America, GAMSA winners “represent the diversity of communities in the Main Street America network – small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts from every region in the country.

 

Winners will be recognized next spring at the Main Street Now Conference.

 

Selection criteria for the award are:

 

• Overall strength of the Main Street program and documented success in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit

 

• Demonstrated impact aligning with the Main Street Approach

 

• Commitment to historic preservation

 

• Active involvement of the public and private sector

 

• Model partnerships, including inclusive engagement of community members and local stakeholders in the downtown revitalization process.

 

Tupelo’s Main Street is a perfect representation of all those items and is one of many throughout the region that, at the hands of some visionary leaders, have truly turned around communities.

 

No doubt one of the focal points for Tupelo’s inclusion in this national award is the work on the Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail, a project that spanned 11 years and took a community-wide effort to accomplish.

 

The $11.5-million project was funded by the City of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program and a $2.3-million transportation enhancement grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Apart from its primary mission of connecting downtown Tupelo to the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the project also sought to transform portions of Main Street into a more pedestrian-friendly area with the hopes of increasing commerce for retail businesses and restaurants.

 

Main Streets are still very much the lifeblood of a number of communities across Northeast Mississippi and that couldn’t be more true in Tupelo.

 

Just about every day of the week, Tupelo’s Main Street is buzzing with residents and visitors alike taking in the sights, shopping and dining at the several restaurant options available. There are many communities across the country that would stand envious of such a well-kept and active Main Street.

 

We applaud the work that’s been done by so many to transform Tupelo’s Main Street. Being a semifinalist for a national award of this stature only reaffirms the work that’s been done and should give leaders a new energy to continue pressing forward.


Gaining momentum: Downtown Saltillo business activity picks up

Gaining momentum: Downtown Saltillo business activity picks up

 

SALTILLO – Late last year, Danny Brown finally got the opportunity to buy the three buildings he had been renting for 13 years, plus another building he had long wanted.

 

Those purchases enabled Brown to move his business, DB’s Floral Designs & More, double his space and expand his offerings to customers.

 

“It’s going really well,” he said of the move. “We purchased the building at the end of December and we’ve been working on renovating it and we’ve been able to move into it ... we’re looking forward to the next few weeks with Christmas and other stuff going on. We’ve got a lot of new things going on in 2017.”

 

Brown has seen his business flourish over the years, even though there have been times when he had only a handful of neighbors on this sometimes lonely stretch of Mobile Street in downtown Saltillo.

 

But in the past year, momentum has been building.

 

In December, the ownership of eight buildings in downtown Saltillo switched hands, as long-time absentee owner Bob Weinberg from Cleveland, Ohio, sold the four buildings on the north side of Mobile Street to Brown. Four other buildings across the street, including one set up as a restaurant, were donated to the city of Saltillo.

 

The building Brown moved into was built in 1910, and he had long eyed it.

 

“I always wanted it, but for years I didn’t ever think I’d move into it,” he said. “Everybody said, ‘you need to move into it,’ and I said ‘no.’ But the good lord worked things out and I was able to purchase it.”

 

The other three buildings Brown owned were then made available for lease. His wife, Karma, opened The Wash Tub, an antiques/handcrafted mall in the old DB’s spot.

 

Also, Tammy King is moving her Barnyard Boutique from the Town Creek area to downtown, and Kevin Doyle is relocating Fuel Cycles from Tupelo.

“Instead of renting, I was looking for a place to buy,” Doyle said in December. “I have heard good things about Saltillo and love the location.”

 

“I’m very excited about what’s going on,” Brown said. “In the 13 years, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go and I’ve seen a lot of buildings sit empty. But now that I’ve been able to buy my side of the street and the city has sold some of their stuff, we’re able to do a lot of new things. Hopefully, by the end of the year, everything will be full of something versus what we’ve seen in the past.”

 

COFFEE & DESSERT

 

Jason and Brandy Wilson can relate to Brown’s feelings about downtown Saltillo. They, too, see a wave of new interest in the heart of the city.

 

The Wilsons opened Iron Clad Tattoo Gallery in 2011 and moved last year from Mobile Street around the corner into a new space on Second Street. That move was precipitated by their purchase of the old Jones Hardware building. Part of it has been transformed into an event center, where parties, meetings and receptions can be held. An adjacent space will be the home of a coffee shop.

 

“We’ll have coffee and desserts, but it’s a much longer process than I expected it would be,” Brandy said. “I wish we had opened the cafe first and then the event hall, but it’s a work in progress. I’m in here every day working, so once we get the OK with the plans, we’ll be ready to build out. We’re still hoping to be open by the end of the year.”

 

The event hall has been home to a few weddings and receptions, along with other gatherings – exactly what the Wilsons had anticipated.

 

“The event hall is doing great; we love the way the public has responded because there definitely was a need for it,” Brandy said.

 

She, too, appreciates the resurgence in downtown Saltillo.

 

“It took a lot of convincing for people to see our vision, and a year and half later, it feels great to see other people seeing the potential, too,” she said. “You can feel the momentum. I’m excited. Every time a building is bought, I get that much more excited.”

 

Saltillo Main Street Director Lindsey Hines said the combination of Brown’s purchase of his four buildings and the gifting of the buildings to the city was the shot in the arm that was needed to revive the area.

 

“That was huge,” she said. “In the grand scheme of things, a coat of paint isn’t that big, but you have to start somewhere and that’s kind of what happened. I feel like we just needed the first few people to take that step, doing a little work on the outside, a little work on the inside, and then it becomes a domino effect.

 

“People are excited and see opportunity.”

 

The city also is building a parking lot behind the buildings it owns, in anticipation of the increased traffic that will be coming through to do business downtown.


MMSA to lead Vision Plan Program in Houston, Miss.

MISSISSIPPI MAIN STREET TO LEAD VISION PLAN PROGRAM IN HOUSTON


HOUSTON, Miss. -- The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) will lead a team to conduct a Mississippi Vision Plan for Houston, Miss. on Sept. 25-27, 2017.


This program, formerly known as a resource team or charrette, has been developed exclusively for Main Street Communities. A new Main Street Community receives a Vision Plan within its first year, and established Main Street programs, like Houston, may apply for the program.


The Vision Plan seeks to use a base of design and marketing professionals in Mississippi to help a new Main Street community develop a plan with both short-term and long-term goals.
"This plan will help us identify goals for Houston's future, and the steps to achieve those goals," said Jan Miller, MMSA Director of Field Services. "Houston has a lot of areas for potential growth and development."


"We hope to see a big turn-out from the community and surrounding area," she added. "An important part of the process is hearing from the public and what community members want to see accomplished in their hometown."


The Mississippi Vision Plan will combine creative, intense work sessions with public input sessions and meetings with community stakeholders over a three-day time period.


The public is invited to participate in a kick-off Community Input Meeting on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center in Houston.


The public is also invited to attend the final Mississippi Vision Presentation on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m., also at the Civic Center.


The Mississippi Vision Plan team will identify tangible and intangible assets, present design recommendations, preservation projects and promotional opportunities to the community, and create excitement for citizens and both the private and public sectors.


The ultimate goal for the Vision Plan is to provide the community with an on-going, flexible work plan that city leaders and the Historic Hometown Houston Main Street program can use to guide the continued revitalization and development of the town and stimulate further economic growth.


MMSA's Jan Miller will be the team leader. Mississippi Vision Plan team members include:
Belinda Stewart, Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
Holly Hawkins, Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
Brittany Riland, Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
Saunders Ramsey, Neel-Schaffer
Karen Stanley, neonFROG, inc.
Rachael Carter, Mississippi State University Extension Center for Government and Community Development
Michelle Jones, Mississippi Department of Archives & History
Jeannie Zieren, Mississippi Main Street Association


The Mississippi Vision Plan team will produce diagrams, plans, design renderings, photo-manipulations, branding and marketing collaterals to illustrate their recommendations.
All of these products and recommendations are presented to the community on the final evening of the program.


"We are truly focused on helping the community with the next five years," said Miller.


A follow-up strategy board and work plans, along with all electronic files, is provided to the city as a tool kit to guide implementation on the recommendations.


For additional information, please contact Joyce East with the Chickasaw Development Foundation/Historic Hometown Houston Main Street at 662.456.2321 or jeastcdf@bellsouth.net.  


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Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) was created to provide economic development assistance through historic preservation to member towns, which focuses on issues embraced by the Main Street Four-Point Approach® - Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Vitality– that are designed to match resources available in Main Street communities.
 


As a Main Street America Coordinating Program, MMSA is part of a powerful, grassroots network consisting of 45 Coordinating Programs and over 1600 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. MMSA partners with the Mississippi Development Authority and several private investors in the state.
For more information, visit http://www.msmainstreet.com. ;


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