Thursday, October 25, 2007
Holly Springs attains Main Street
By BARRY BURLESON
Holly Springs’ application for designation as a Mississippi Main Street community has been approved.
City officials were notified Wednesday of last week via a news release from the Mississippi Main Street Association.
“This will be extremely helpful in unifying our efforts to develop and enhance our downtown area,” said Mayor Andre’ DeBerry.
DeBerry and alderman-at-large Tim Liddy said it has been a team effort in landing the Main Street designation. Liddy said Clencie Cotton with the Rust College Community Development Corp and Susan Jordan with the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce have provided valuable assistance, along with others.
“This is good news,” Liddy said. “If the downtown property and business owners get behind it, it will mean a lot for downtown. A lot of towns in Mississippi have taken advantage of it and done well.”
Three other applications were approved last week – Carthage, Hancock County and Laurel. It will bring the total of Mississippi Main Street communities to 56.
An official announcement in Holly Springs, involving state dignitaries, will follow in January or February, according to Sam Agnew, a representative of Mississippi Main Street.
From there, Agnew said the organizational process will begin, focusing on committee training. The Main Street approach is a community-driven, comprehensive methodology used to revitalize older, traditional business districts. It advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets – distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership and a sense of community. The four-point approach involves design, economic restructuring, promotion and organization.
Main Street in Holly Springs will take in not just the square but the corridor along North Memphis Street to Rust College. Liddy said it will go to the Big Star/Rental Barn area on the west side, to around State Farm on the east, and to the Marshall County Library area to the south.
“It will be the original, old downtown commercial district,” he said. “This does not mean that someone outside that district cannot be involved and be supportive. A thriving downtown will benefit everyone. We want to be successful all over (the city).”
Liddy again thanked Rust College for its partnership and commitment in the Mississippi Main Street efforts. Rust has committed $25,000 in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) money to the project, $10,000 the first year and the remaining $15,000 distributed over the next four years, according to an earlier newspaper report.
A full-time Main Street director will be hired to lead the downtown revitalization efforts.
The approval of Holly Springs and the other four communities comes after months of preparation whereby communities across the state participated in a selection process that included a training workshop, extensive application process, review by MMSA’s selection committee and then final approval by the MMSA board of directors.
“These communities have put forth great effort in order to achieve this high honor and the assistance of the Mississippi Main Street Association,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA director. “We look forward to working with these communities in their downtown redevelopment efforts in the months and years to come.”
The Mississippi Main Street Association leads the nation in program success, and is a designated partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mississippi Development Authority.
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