April 1, 2008
Main Street welcomes Holly Springs
Holly Springs officially joined the Mississippi Main Street Association family Wednesday of last week.
“We’re very excited to have Holly Springs coming in,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA executive director. “There’s a lot of things happening here, and we hope you can see the potential.”
He borrowed a phrase from Billy Wiseman, MMSA board member and former mayor of New Albany.
“Main Street will bring you the plan, and if you work the plan, the plan will work for you,” Wilson said.
The Mississippi Main Street Program is an economic development program based in historic preservation focused on developing Mississippi’s downtowns through a four-point approach – organization, promotions, design and economic restructuring. MMSA leads the nation in program success, and it is a designated partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mississippi Development Authority.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry welcomed everyone to the ceremony in the board room at city hall.
“This will help us develop not just downtown, but provide new blood in our efforts to improve the overall community,” DeBerry said. “It’s a commitment to serve our economic development potential and make people feel good about our community.
“We need to take a look at ourselves – the positive things we have to offer. We have so much to be proud of.”
Rust College has been a vital partner with the city in attaining Main Street status.
“Lots of people here have been working hard on this a long time,” Wilson said. “Things fell into place, and the missing link was Rust College. When they came on board, everything started to gell.”
Dr. David Beckley, Rust College president, joined the mayor in welcoming everyone and emphasizing the importance of the program.
He said the college is particularly concerned about the appearance and development along Memphis Street, what he called “a major artery,” which runs beside Rust.
“Martin Luther King to College Avenue – that’s our main reason for being involved,” Beckley said.
Another important partner in Holly Springs Main Street will be the Appalachian Regional Commission. Sandra Perkins with ARC was on hand for the ceremony.
“ARC is excited about being a part of this project,” Perkins said. “Main Street is a great organization, and Holly Springs is a great community. We’re looking forward to working with everyone here.”
Wilson said getting ARC on board will be of tremendous benefit to Holly Springs.
“The services we will be able to bring to Holly Springs will be ones we’ve never brought before (to other communities,” he said. “We’re kicking this up another level, and it gives me goose bumps. Everything is coming together so well.”
He introduced Laura Todd, executive director of the Main Street program in Holly Springs’ neighbor, Collierville, Tenn.
“She didn’t want to miss this,” Wilson said. “She will be an excellent resource for you.
“This is a super, super family you’re getting into – Main Street programs across Mississippi and the nation.”
Suzanne Smith, MMSA board president from Tupelo, said the Main Street program is all about enthusiasm and working the four-point approach.
“As we tour the state, we hear mayors say, ‘it’s amazing what Main Street has done for our community,’” Smith said. “You have to work the plan. And it’s a win-win. Everywhere we go, we see the enthusiasm.”
Just a few days earlier Carthage and Laurel had also joined the long list of Mississippi Main Street communities.
“It’s been March madness for us,” Smith said. “This is great.”
Following the ceremony, MMSA staff conducted board training for the Holly Springs Main Street Board of Directors. A Main Street director will be hired to lead the program locally.
“Downtown must be the heart of your city,” Smith said. “If you do that, you will be successful.”
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