Thursday, November 1, 2007
It was good welcoming the Kudzu Festival downtown last week – the lights of the carnival, the smell of the barbecue, the crafts on the courthouse lawn.
Granted, the weather could have been much better – particularly Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But here’s hoping this is the start of a downtown tradition.
I’m sure there were some complaints about downtown parking and such. But it’s just for a few days once a year. Surely, we can all live with that. In my mind, the positives far outweigh any negatives.
Holly Springs’ downtown is so beautiful and so important to the livelihood of this community. The more we can do to boost activity downtown, the better.
I awoke early for a Saturday and first photographed the 5K.
I talked to some runners and their families and to some out-of-town vendors in the arts and crafts area. All had high praises for Holly Springs, its small-town atmosphere, its attractiveness and the friendliness of its people.
Staff writer Sue Watson met a newcomer to our county, moving from South Carolina. He said he loves it here.
At a recent Rotary meeting, the importance of hospitality was discussed. A visitor’s first impression is so important, and that first impression often comes from the convenience store clerk, the hotel check-in clerk or the person taking an order at a restaurant. But it can come from any of us – just like my conversations with the people visiting Holly Springs for our festival this past weekend.
We need to be helpful. We need to be prepared to give them good information about our town. And most of all, we need to be positive. A smile always helps, too.
As far as downtown receiving a boost, it did so last week with the announcement that Holly Springs has been accepted into the Mississippi Main Street program.
This is exciting news.
It’s a four-point approach that takes working together to build a community revitalization effort. Main Street will help - provide valuable resources - but the bulk of the work falls on the home folks.
I’ve lived in four Mississippi cities – Fulton, Aberdeen, Laurel and Holly Springs. Aberdeen was designated a Mississippi Main Street community while I was publishing the newspaper there.
The community got behind it, and the program produced results. I was in Aberdeen a few weeks ago. Main Street and its local volunteers are still contributing to the strength of the downtown area. Sure, there are some vacant buildings, but the Main Street director and the community volunteers and business owners are working together on any challenges that arise.
In the announcement last week from Mississippi Main Street, three other communities, besides Holly Springs, were accepted into the statewide program. One is Laurel.
Downtown is the heart of any community. Hopefully this latest good news will help bring new life to Holly Springs’ wonderful, historic downtown area.
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