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Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association Hires Ole Miss Graduate

Megan Daniel new Events Coordinator and Marketing Program Associate
There’s a new face in Downtown Tupelo. Megan Daniel joins the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association in the newly created position of Events Coordinator and Marketing Program Associate.

“This is the perfect job for me. I have always loved downtown areas and I’m thrilled about the opportunity to market Tupelo,” said Daniel of her new position.

She will be responsible for planning and implementing special events, primarily the Elvis Presley Festival to be held June 5-7, 2009, and marketing the downtown area to local patrons.

Daniel is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science. During college, she interned for the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Marketing Department and the University of Mississippi’s Public and Media Relations Department. Most recently she was an account executive at the Mabus Birch Agency in Tupelo.

“Megan is a great addition to our organization and I’m excited about working with her,” said Debbie Brangenberg, Director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.


Mississippi Main Street to hold Main Street Institute in Jackson, Jan. 29-30

Deadline to register for Main Street Institute is Friday, Jan. 23
The Mississippi Main Street Association will hold a Main Street Institute on Jan. 29-30 at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, Miss. The program will include extensive training on the Main Street Four-Point Approach: Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring and Promotion.

New manager orientation, monthly reporting and heritage travel promotion are also on the agenda in addition to the Four-Point training. The speaker line-up is as follows:

Elise Tinsley, Program Officer of the National Trust Main Street Center, will present on Organization and Economic Restructuring;

Randy Wilson, Director of Design Services of the Mississippi Main Street Association, will present on Design;

Stacy Pair, Southern District Director of the Mississippi Main Street Association, and Jan Miller, Central District Director of the Mississippi Main Street Association, will both present on Promotion.

Kathy Adams, Senior Director, Heritage Destinations of Heritage Travel, Inc., will present a new Heritage Travel program that is a Subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

For a complete schedule and registration information, refer to the Institute Agenda. Mississippi Main Street Managers are required to attend as part of their on-going training, and members of local boards, committee chairs and friends of Main Street are encouraged to attend. Deadline to register is Friday, January 23.

For more information, call 601-987-8741 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Mississippi Main Street Resource Team Conducts Charrette in Water Valley

These are exciting times for Water Valley! Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) will conduct a planning workshop or “charrette” on Jan. 12-14 that will address the revitalization of the community in a holistic fashion. The entire charrette will be open to the public and invited to participate.

So what does the fancy word, “charrette,” mean? A charrette is an intensive and inclusive planning process undertaken by an interdisciplinary design team over a brief period of time. The term “charrette” is derived from a French word meaning “little cart.” In the eighteenth century of architectural education, proctors circulated with carts to collect final drawings and students would jump on the charrette to put finishing touches on their drawings. This burst of activity is similar to the environment of the charrette process. The charrette combines creative, intense work sessions with public input sessions. The charrette is a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a feasible plan that represents transformative community change.

Who is paying for this charrette? The State of Mississippi recognized that over the years many smaller communities have seen jobs and revenue leave for larger communities with more resources. This migration happened over many years before the communities realized the crippling affect that has occurred.

All communities have potential in the areas of tourism, specialty retail, preservation and history. It is natural for a community to fall into a spiral of decline that affects the community’s overall quality of life. These trends are especially true in the more impoverished areas of Mississippi that fall within the Appalachian Region of the state.

Grant funds have been made available through the State of Mississippi’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to underwrite planning services aimed at stimulating asset-based, economic growth in these communities. The ARC charrette process identifies assets that the community and presents design recommendations, preservation projects and promotional opportunities to the community to create excitement on the part of the citizens, private sector businesses and the public sector.

The ARC planning charrettes operate on three key tenets: 1) utilizing an asset-based approach, 2) addressing the community in a holistic manner and 3) conducting the exercise in a public forum.

First, an assets-based planning approach builds upon the unique assets and qualities that a community possesses. This ensures that the plan will be authentic in its nature and affordable in its execution. Second, the holistic approach utilized in the ARC charrette includes varying degrees of emphasis on four components: market assessment (economic development factors affecting a community), branding and marketing (unique promotional messages), design and planning (physical appearance and function of the community) and finally, implementation strategies (road map for the community to implement).

It is the participatory nature of the ARC planning exercises that is maximally effective. Since the plans are created on-site within a three-day time period with input from the communities’ citizens, the charrette ensures a level of community-wide buy-in and enthusiasm that leads to an unprecedented level of implementation.

During the charrette itself, a kick-off town meeting is conducted to gather input from the citizens of the community as to their aspirations for the future of their community. Targeted input sessions, one-on-one interviews, team site tours and other activities afford the team an opportunity to understand the issues facing the community and propose appropriate solutions.

The remainder of the charrette is spent with the design team producing diagrams, plans, renderings, photo manipulations, branding and marketing collateral to illustrate their recommendations. All of these products and recommendations are presented to the community on the final evening of the charrette. A follow-up report poster along with all electronic files is provided to the community as an implementation toolkit to apply for grant funding and to guide implementation of the recommendations from the charrette.

The ultimate goal for all the planning activity and accompanying deliverables is to provide the community with a flexible, working document that they can use to guide the revitalization of their town and to stimulate economic growth.

The citizens of Water Valley are encouraged to attend the kick-off meeting and the final presentation of the charrette. The Town Hall Meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 12 from 6-7 p.m., and the final presentation will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 6-7:30 pm. For location or other information, contact Susan Hart at 662-473-3796 or manager@watervalleymainstreet.com.

By Randy Wilson
Director of Design Services, Mississippi Main Street Association

Mardi Gras 2009 in Vicksburg

Mardi Gras 2009: Parade, ball, mask-making workshop on tap

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras boosters call their annual extravaganza “the greatest free show on earth,” and Vicksburg will offer its own version of the festivities Feb. 21. The Eighth Annual Mardi Gras parade, sponsored by Vicksburg’s Main Street program, will roll along Washington Street from Belmont to Jackson street beginning at 4 p.m.

“We always have a great turnout, and it’s a fun family event,” said Kim Hopkins, director of the Vicksburg Main Street Program.

Though on a smaller scale than the New Orleans granddaddy of Mardi Gras celebrations, the Vicksburg parade is modeled after those in larger cities and features the floats, beads, feathers and other traditional items, Hopkins said.

Other Mardi Gras-related events include a children’s mask-making workshop at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center Feb. 20, and the Seventh Annual Mardi Gras Ball Feb. 21.

The workshop offers kids a chance to make a colorful Mardi Gras mask and have it ready in time for the parade. The ball benefits the Vicksburg Foundation for Historical Preservation.

Parades and balls are traditions of the annual Carnival season that takes place each year at Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. After the revelry, the following day, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of the Lenten season leading up to Easter. Because the date of Easter changes each year, Mardi Gras also falls on different dates from year to year.

The first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans was held on Feb. 24, 1857. This year, the official date of Mardi Gras is also Feb. 24.

Several days or even weeks of festivities known as Carnival culminate in Mardi Gras. Krewes, which developed from private social clubs and organizations, generally foot the bill for the floats and colorful beads, feathers, plastic cups and other fun items thrown into the crowds.

Hopkins said Main Street is looking for krewes — any organizations, businesses, schools or clubs — to reserve a place in the Vicksburg Mardi Gras parade.

Anyone interested in entering a float can call the Main Street office or visit the Web site for an application. Fees are $50 for businesses, and $24 for nonprofit organizations. Applications must be made by 4 p.m. Feb. 6.

“We always invite the schools to come with their bands,” Hopkins said.

The event is much like the Christmas parade though on a smaller scale, she said, “and the weather is usually pretty good.”

Street music is also planned for parade day, with stores, balconies and windows of the residences along the parade route decorated.

For schedule and event information, go to www.downtownvicksburg.org.

By Pamela Hitchins
Vicksburg Post

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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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Mississippi Main Street is a program of the National Main Street
Center and the Mississippi Development Authority