Thursday, October 23, 2008
I’ve been watching for my weekly edition of The Carthaginian the past few weeks.
Not that I don’t always eagerly await its arrival, but some of its stories are hitting a bit closer to home these days.
That’s because fellow weekly newspaper man and one of my all-time favorite people, Waid Prather, is getting a head start on his good friend in writing about Main Street and the charrette workshop.
The charrette, a survey and assessment process, includes a visit from a team of professionals. They will join community members in developing a plan and vision for the future. The charrette team has already visited Carthage. The team will arrive in Holly Springs in just a few weeks (see news story elsewhere in this week’s edition of your newspaper), and everyone’s invited.
Water Valley is also among the three new Main Street communities to be chosen for the project.
I know Waid pretty well. We worked together in Monroe County for a few years.
But I can’t recall hearing him as excited about anything as he was on the telephone a few weeks back when I talked to him about the charrette.
“This is great,” he repeated several times.
His front page headline the following week read – “Work in progress – charrette off to rousing start.”
In the story, Carthage Mayor Jimmy Wallace and Bob Wilson of Mississippi Main Street agreed that the community meeting was “a golden opportunity for you to determine the future of your community.”
The process includes looking at the community’s history, its assets and its dreams.
“We have an energy in the room,” Dr. Cheryl Morgan, director of the Center for Architecture and Urban Studies at Auburn University, told those gathered in Carthage. “I mean it’s palpable, an energy that gets us excited.”
It’s an exciting time, no doubt, for Carthage, Holly Springs and Water Valley.
In our town, being a new Main Street community, awaiting the arrival of the charrette team and welcoming Rust College’s recent purchase of the MI College property (see a story on that, too, elsewhere in your newspaper) add up to triple excitement.
These happenings and others make our future look bright, but only if we come together as a community and lend our full support.
Our thoughts and opinions are wanted and needed, but in the end, the key to the success of these projects is teamwork.
Some ideas of improvement in Carthage, which might stir some thoughts in Holly Springs, included turning an old garment factory into loft apartments, developing a farmers market and a senior center, widening sidewalks on the square, updating store facades, turning Town Creek there into a water attraction, complete with a restaurant and wooden walk across the creek, and more.
Don’t miss the opportunity November 17 at 6 p.m. at the Eddie Lee Smith Multi-Purpose Building to be a part of shaping the future of Holly Springs. The community can participate and see the results immediately – thanks to the team of professionals and their valuable assistance during the three-day program. A final presentation will be made on November 19.
Waid and I have several things in common but most importantly, we share a deep love for the communities where we publish newspapers. We learned a long time ago that the downtown areas of any community are their heartbeats, and we can’t let them die.
There’s lots of negative news nationally.
I think it’s best for Holly Springs and Marshall County to focus on the positive. And Main Street, the planning charrette and a renewed focus on the MI College property are great places to start.
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