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Downtown Tupelo Main Street receives recognition for efforts

Downtown Main Street Association receives recognition for efforts


TUPELO – Since its creation more than 25 years ago, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association has been helping to revitalize the downtown area, working with the city and the Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract more residents and visitors.


DTMSA’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and it has been recognized or nominated for a variety of awards this year.

It is a semifinalist in the “Independent We Stand” competition for $25,000.


Independent We Stand supports main streets and small business owners across the country.


Among the cities Tupelo is vying against is Collierville, Tennessee, the closest Southern city in the competition.


“There are 25 entries right now and three from the Deep South,” DTMSA program associate Reagan Pepper said. “There were not too many competing from around here and we were actually one of the only ones from Mississippi to apply.”


DTMSA executive director Debbie Brangenberg said fundraising is critical to help pay for events like the annual Elvis Presley Festival.


“We are continually working on ways to diversify and eliminate as much risk as possible,” she said. “As with any nonprofit, fund raising is always a challenge. The bottom line of success for us all is community support.”


Winning awards – especially ones with monetary prizes – is one way to diversify the revenue stream.


“What I’ve gathered from Independent We Stand is that they see that main streets seem to give back to the community the most, so that’s where they have decided to invest,” Pepper said.


The contest is for who is America’s best main street and Pepper said people can vote for DTMSA to win the contest every 24 hours on social media until May 27. The results will be announced June 4.


Last month, the Tupelo CVB helped DTMSA secure an official “Southern Travel Treasure” award for the Tupelo Elvis Festival, from AAA Southern Traveler.


AAA Southern Traveler is the official travel publication for Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.


“They were doing an article on the Elvis Festival, and through that earned editorial piece, they awarded DTMSA for the Elvis Festival,” said CVB Public Relations and International Sales Director Jennie Bradford Curlee.


“It’s always exciting to have recognition for a signature event,” Curlee said. “USA Today does these types of lists and anytime you get on one of them, it’s another way to let people know what’s going on in your town. So when we get recognition like this, it helps further our story and gets heads in beds and people eating in our restaurants.”


DTMSA also was added to former HGTV home improvement host Bob Vila’s “America’s 50 Favorite Streets” list in May.


Team Cleveland Awards Facade Grants

Team Cleveland Awards Facade Grants

Mississippi Business Journal


Team Cleveland Main Street has awarded twelve $500 matching facade grants with money raised from Cleveland Bites Food Festival.


This is the fourth year Team Cleveland has offered facade grants. This year, the following businesses have been awarded grants: Neysa’s Fireside Shop, KAT, Rosson Co., and Langston Insurance Agency/Nationwide. Between these four projects, over $14,000 worth of work is being or has been done to improve business facades.


Over the last three years, Team Cleveland has provided facade grants for: Hey Joe’s, Ten Twenty Four, Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, The Wishing Well, H Squared Ladies Wear, The Starving Musician, Airport Grocery, Mosquito Burrito, Mississippi Grounds, Studio 230, Heidi’s, and the Bolivar County Annex.


Funds for the facade grant program are raised each year during Cleveland Bites Food Festival, which is an event held downtown that offers visitors a chance to try samples from area restaurants.


The Team Cleveland Facade Grant program is a competitive grant program and is open to all Team Cleveland members.

Mississippi Communities Receive 2018 National Main Street Accreditation

Mississippi Communities Receive 2018 National Main Street Accreditation
JACKSON, Miss. (May 2, 2018) -- The following Main Street communities in Mississippi have been designated as accredited Main Street America™ programs for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center and the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA):
Aberdeen, Amory, Baldwyn, Batesville, Belhaven, Biloxi, Booneville, Canton, Carthage/Leake County, Cleveland, Clinton, Columbus, Corinth, Crystal Springs, Greenville, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Holly Springs, Houston, Indianola, Kosciusko, Laurel, Louisville/Noxapater, Meridian, New Albany, Ocean Springs, Okolona, Olive Branch, Pascagoula, Pass Christian, Philadelphia, Picayune, Pontotoc County, Port Gibson, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia, Starkville, Tunica, Tupelo, Vicksburg, Water Valley, West Point and Woodville.
Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.
"Receiving National Main Street accreditation is a prestigious designation and we congratulate each of these programs in Mississippi for this achievement," said Allison Beasley, MMSA Board President. "Main Street programs play a strategic role in making Mississippi more competitive by stimulating local, regional and statewide economic development."
“We are thrilled to honor this year’s 829 nationally accredited Main Street America programs for their commitment to preservation-based economic development and the revitalization of their commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “The power of Main Street shines across the country through these vibrant communities, who have all worked to generate impressive economic returns, preserve community character, and celebrate local history.” 
In addition, several Mississippi communities were recognized among the 299 Main Street America affiliate programs in recognition of their commitment to achieving meaningful improvements in downtowns and commercial districts across the country using the Main Street Approach™, including Byhalia, Charleston, Forest, Long Beach and Moss Point.

In 2017 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.48 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 6,211 net new businesses, generated 30,294 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,737 historic buildings, and clocked 2.7 million volunteer hours. 
MMSA staff evaluate each local Main Street organization’s performance annually and works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet the 10 performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

In 2017, Mississippi Main Street cities generated 325 net new businesses, 95 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,458 net new jobs, 109 facade rehabilitations and 86 downtown residential units. More than 50,337 volunteer hours were recorded. 
MMSA currently has 48 active Main Street programs throughout the state, five Downtown Network members, and numerous Association and Allied professional members. 

Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) has been improving the quality of life in Mississippi for more than 30 years by developing Mississippi's downtowns. Main Street is an economic development program based in historic preservation. The mission of the Mississippi Main Street Association is to provide visionary leadership, guidance and counsel to Mississippi Main Street communities through organization, promotion, design and economic development to make our cities and towns better places to work, live and play. Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5.2 billion in private and public investment (including nearly $1.3 billion in public investment), 36,996 net new jobs, 5,673 net new businesses, rehabilitated 3,298 buildings and added 2,921 downtown residential units. MMSA is a program of the National Main Street Center, with many public and private partners.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $71.35 billion in new public and private investment, generated 583,869 net new jobs and 131,974 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 267,800 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

Greenville Among Four Rural Communities Chosen to Receive $45,000 in Design Assistance

Four Rural Communities Chosen to Receive $45,000 in Design Assistance 

BY   |    |   

Washington, DC— The Citizens' Institute on Rural DesignTM (CIRD), an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) managed by Project for Public Spaces, is pleased to announce four communities selected to host rural design workshops for the 2018 program year. The workshops will bring together local leaders, nonprofits, community organizations, and citizens with a team of rural planning and creative placemaking professionals to craft solutions to their communities’ design challenges.

Recommended by a review panel of rural experts, the four host communities are: Greenville, Mississippi; Las Vegas, New Mexico; Tuttle, North Dakota; and Valentine, Nebraska. CIRD awardees receive a $10,000 stipend to support the workshop and follow-up planning sessions. Each community also receives in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000, and additional support through web-based resources on and webinars by the Orton Family Foundation.

“It is exciting to witness the bold visions that these four rural communities have for their future,” said NEA Director of Design and Creative Placemaking Jen Hughes. “Design is an important tool to spark economic revitalization and bring new attention to recreational trails and local amenities. We’re thrilled to support the CIRD workshops and deliver design expertise that will ultimately impact the quality of life for rural residents.”


“This year’s technical assistance focus areas - Main Street Revitalization, Healthy Living by Design, and Multi-Modal Transportation - reflect key overlapping issues facing rural communities across the country and provide a great opportunity for sharing hands on practices and applicable lessons learned across multiple sectors” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director and Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces, Inc.


2018 CIRD Workshops
Greenville, MS (population 34,400) 
Host: Rural LISC 

Workshop Description:

Greenville, located in the Mississippi Delta, is a rural community of color and a hub for transportation, recreation, arts, culture, shopping, and dining for the region. The workshop will focus on plans to enliven Main Street via the adaptive reuse of vacant commercial storefronts and activation of public spaces that showcase the cultural heritage of the region. Main Street will be transformed into a destination for recreation, play, and public art; attracting people to live and visit the city center. Workshop partners include Main Street Greenville, Greater Greenville Housing, and the Washington County Economic Alliance. 


Las Vegas, NM (population 13,753)
Host: Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance 

Workshop Description:

The Gallinas River Park extends the length of Las Vegas and was at one time a major thoroughfare for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well a place to exercise and a natural draw for tourists. Now degraded and minimally used, the design challenge is to redevelop the park into a safe green space that connects local residents and sparks revitalization of the town. The workshop will focus on recommendations for a section of the trail to reflect the community’s unique cultural heritage, highlight natural resources, and drive environmental stewardship. Workshop partners include the City of Las Vegas, MainStreet de Las Vegas, and West Las Vegas School District.

Tuttle, ND (population 80) 
Host: Strengthen ND

Workshop Description:

Tuttle is developing plans for a new multi-use community space and economic engine, the Tuttle Rural Innovation Center. The workshop will develop design plans for the center featuring a small business and art space incubator, a commercial kitchen, event space, and a maker space for local artisans and crafters. The center has the potential to be a model for adaptive reuse, sparking a renaissance along Main Street. This project leverages community momentum in establishing a community-owned and volunteer-operated grocery store. Workshop partners include Tuttle Rural Innovation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development – North Dakota, North Dakota Local Foods Development Alliance, and Tuttle Betterment Club.

Valentine, NE (population 2,803)
Host: Valentine Economic Development Board 

Workshop Description:

Main Street in the City of Valentine is slated for a major redesign and reconstruction beginning in 2021. The workshop will initiate the transformation of Main Street from a state highway and thruway into a well-designed street that encourages passersby to linger and attracts residents to support local businesses. The Valentine population is currently stable, but is located in a larger region that is experiencing chronic and severe depopulation. Valentine and Cherry County will put forth plans to stimulate long term economic development and the attraction of new residents by integrating design and creative placemaking into the Main Street revitalization. Workshop partners include the City of Valentine, Valentine Chamber of Commerce, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture and Community Vitality Initiative.


Program Contact: 

Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director, Project for Public Spaces,

Victoria Hutter, Assistant Director – Press, National Endowment for the Arts,


View the Press Release here. 



Since its inception in 1991, CIRD has convened 83 workshops in all regions of the country with results that range from strengthened local economies, enhanced rural character, the leveraging of cultural assets, and the design of recreational trails.

Read more about CIRD’s successful past workshops and explore the resource-rich website gathered from diverse organizations across the country. It is a place for citizens and practitioners alike to access information and inspiration to improve their own communities.

The Citizens' Institute on Rural DesignTM (CIRD) is a design leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, Inc., and the Orton Family Foundation.



About the National Endowment for the Arts 

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

About Project for Public Spaces, Inc.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Founded in 1975, PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US states.  PPS has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and inspiration about Placemaking. Visit PPS at

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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
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