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Old Hattiesburg High School one step closer to being converted into apartments

Old Hattiesburg High School one step closer to being converted into apartments

Haskel Burns, American Staff Writer Published 12:03 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2017

From A to Z, the Hattiesburg American city/government beat has you covered throughout the Pine Belt. Haskel Burns/Hattiesburg American

For the past several months, officials have been patiently awaiting tax credits to help transform the former Hattiesburg High School on Main Street into an age-restricted apartment development.


Those credits were awarded last week from the Mississippi Home Corporation, knocking out the first step in the project and paving the way for a hopeful spring construction start on the $10 million project.


More: Apartments still planned for old Hattiesburg High


"We've made it through this process, which means it's actually going to happen," said Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. "We had to get to this point to get the ball rolling, to get it started and moving.


"I've been so excited. This project is actually coming to fruition — it's not just a 'maybe' or a 'could be.' It's not going to be overnight, but something is starting to happen."


The upcoming facility, which is aimed at residents 62 years of age and older, is being undertaken by Jackson-based Intervest Corp. Tentatively called Preservation Crossing, the development is expected to offer 70 to 75 apartments that are 575 to 800 square feet per unit.


The majority of the units will be one-bedroom — although a handful of two-bedroom units may be available — and will feature a full kitchen, full bath and an on-site manager.


"I think this is important for that end of downtown," Saffle said. "It's going to help create the momentum for the community arts center in the (former) Hattiesburg American building, and I think all of those things can build off each other and help each other happen.


"I think it's huge for downtown — it's such great news, and it shows that it can happen."


The next step for officials will be to shore up approximately $100,000 in gap funding and start part two of the application process for state and federal historic tax credits from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. As part of that process, officials will fine-tune of the construction documents in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.


"We're real excited — just getting the credits is a major hurdle," Intervest owner Steve Nail said. "So now we're working towards all the things you have to do, all the way from getting the plans and specs ... all the way down to making the economics work."


To keep the apartments affordable, Nail expects to set rent for the units at approximately $600 per month. A similar project in Pascagoula, where he converted an old school into apartments for elderly residents, has so far been a success.


"We're still trying to get subsidies for the tenants that are going to live there," Nail said. "We're trying to find ways that we can provide services and things like that through some type of subsidy payment."



More: Barker looking at payment options for public arts center in Hattiesburg


Construction on the original multiple-story building, at 846 N. Main St., began in 1911. The facility was used as a school until 1959, after which it served as headquarters for Hattiesburg Public School District and was home to an antiques mall until 2001. The building, which has remained vacant since then, was heavily damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and again in 2007 by arson.


The facility was named a Mississippi Landmark in 1986 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. The historic aspect of the building will continue during renovation, as officials plan to keep the frame intact and build around it.


"(This project) is a great opportunity to invest in quality living spaces in the North Main Street area," Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado said. "Hopefully it will breathe new life into challenged neighboring properties."

Eighth Bricks and Spokes set for downtown Vicksburg

Eighth Bricks and Spokes set for Sept. 30 here

By Brandon O'Connor

The Vicksburg Post

A unique chance to take a scenic bicycle ride through Vicksburg, across the Mississippi River and through the Vicksburg National Military Park is fast approaching.

The eighth annual Bricks and Spokes bicycle ride across the Old Mississippi River Bridge will take place Sept. 30.


Vicksburg Main Street is partnering with Bike Your Park this year to design the routes for the ride and some will include the chance to ride through the Vicksburg National Military Park after crossing back over the Old Mississippi River Bridge from Louisiana.


“Riding across the Old Mississippi Bridge and a lot of people come to ride our hills, believe it or not,” Main Street Vicksburg executive director Kim Hopkins said of what makes Bricks and Spoke special. “A lot people just have flat land, so they like to come and ride our hills. I think this year it will bring in a lot of people to ride across the bridge and be able to ride through the park.”


The ride begins in downtown Vicksburg at the Senior Center on South Street and will take riders along the red bricks roads of Washington Street and across the bridge into Louisiana.


Cyclists will have four options, and can take part in rides of 10, 30, 50 or 62 miles, although the final routes have not been determined.


“We will have where they can ride across the bridge and then we will have a short route through the park,” Hopkins said. “They can ride the whole park if they want. We will have some different routes. They don’t have to ride the whole park.”


The ride is open to cyclists of all ages and all types of bicycles. Registration is $35 through Sept. 4 and $40 from Sept. 4 through the day of the race. The registration fee includes a T-shirt, goodie bag and a water bottle.


Last year, the event attracted 185 cyclists to downtown Vicksburg.

Tupelo Celebrates Mississippi Bicentennial Event




TUPELO, Mississippi - Downtown Tupelo will celebrate Mississippi’s bicentennial on Thursday, September 14, 2017.  “Tupelo Celebrates Mississippi” is free to all attendees and will begin at 5 p.m. in the Downtown/Fairpark area and carry into the September Down on Main event beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Fairpark.


Events in downtown will include historical reenactments and Mississippi-themed art exhibits, along with downtown’s specialty shopping and food options.


Historical reenactments will begin at 5 p.m. along West Main Street. The reenactments will highlight major events in Tupelo’s history, including the story of Elvis. Reenactments will take place from 5-7 p.m.


Also during this time, Gumtree Museum of Art and the Caron Gallery will present art exhibits with a Mississippi theme. Gumtree will host the Southern Light Photography exhibit, featuring images of Mississippi’s landscape. The Caron Gallery will feature Mississippi artists whose artwork will showcase the theme “Mississippi Interpretations.”


While celebrating Mississippi and the City of Tupelo, an interactive streetside photo gallery will be displayed throughout Downtown. The photos will depict stories being told by eight residents of Tupelo as part of a documentary storytelling workshop encompassing the “Tupelo Spirit." These large photographs will have unique QR codes at the bottom that spectators can scan, which will take them to a corresponding video that further tells the Tupelo Story. “The photo documentary workshop with Blue Magnolia was a memory that I will cherish for a life time. The process was intense and but well worth the gift of the personal skills learned. The end result, amazing stories capturing pieces of the puzzle that make up the Tupelo spirit,” said Debbie Brangenberg, director of Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.


Healthworks! will host a Kids Zone in Fairpark from 5-8 p.m. The Kids Zone will be an interactive exhibit depicting how games have transitioned over the past 200 years. Healthworks! will also teach kids ways to play games that encourage a healthy lifestyle.


All bicentennial events will lead up to the final Down on Main concert, beginning in Fairpark at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and will include food and beverage vendors. The concert will feature Jeff Crosby and the Refugees with headlining artist George McConnell, originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi.


For more information regarding any bicentennial events or for information about Down on Main, please contact the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association at 662-841-6598.

Main Street Pascagoula Awards $10,000 in Fa├žade Grants

Main Street Pascagoula Awards $10,000 in Façade Grants


Main Street Pascagoula has awarded façade grants to six local businesses throughout the Pascagoula Main Street Business District.


Façade grants offer a financial incentive to encourage local property owners and businesses to improve the exterior appearance of their buildings and storefronts. Even simple changes such as new paint or landscaping can help signal positive change and often stimulates similar improvements in neighboring buildings.


“I’m excited that we can play a small part in helping these small, local businesses improve,” said Michele Coats, President of Main Street. “These businesses owners have put their trust in our community so this is a great way to invest in their businesses to help them succeed. It’s a win-win for all of Pascagoula.”


The six Façade Grant Award Recipients include:

Edd’s Drive-In - Walker Foster, Sr.

3834 Market Street

Re-stucco the building, paint the exterior and add additional landscaping


Nura Juice Bar - Marcel and Kenyetta Kinard

303 Delmas Ave Cottage E

Add screen door, replace the blinds and landscaping


Whimsey Books & Toys - Tracy Wilson and Cathy Johnson

3255 Pascagoula Street

Commission Haley Herring to create a mural on the north side of the building (facing railroad tracks) and resurface the existing Scranton’s sign.


Downtown Jazz Club - Susan Williams

3225 Canty Street

Replace the existing awning, pressure wash the building and landscaping


Southern Bells Like Big Bows - Shannon and Micah van Duijvendijk

711 Krebs Ave.

Complete the upper level, add historic lighting and landscaping


The Jury Room - Parker Pugh and Ramsay Taylor (pictured with Michele Coats of Pascagoula Main Street)

702 Delmas Ave.

Add an awning, install double entry doors and add additional signage


Main Street Pascagoula is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization, preservation and economic growth of Historic Downtown Pascagoula. Our funding is made possible by partnerships with the City of Pascagoula, the Mississippi Main Street Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and most importantly, generous contributions from public companies and private citizens of the city and surrounding communities. Main Street Pascagoula is a certified Main Street Community in the State of Mississippi and has received 29 beautification and improvement awards in the past 15 years.

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