Thursday, June 18, 2009
Main Street needs financial backing
By SUE WATSON
An enthusiastic David Beckley, president of Rust College and chairman of the Holly Springs Main Street Association board, went to the mayor and aldermen June 2 asking for financial support the city promised.
He said Main Street will need $26,000 to mostly pay the salary of the executive director.
Rust College partnered with the city to bring Main Street to Holly Springs.
Beckley provided copies of the design for the Holly Springs program just released for public view. The map summarizes the findings of Main Street Mississippi’s planning charrette worked out last fall.
A new city motto coming out of the planning charrette - “City of Holly Springs, All Kinds of Character” - pulls together the many strengths planners and design specialists saw in the historic city.
Beckley said a tax identification number is in hand for the association, a bank account has been opened to accept funds when they are raised, and the board will apply for a nonprofit tax-exempt status.
“The charrettes looked at Holly Springs to see how to make the city more appealing to visitors and to downtown residents,” he said.
A next step in the implementation of the program is to visit businesses in the district and recruit members to the association while explaining the benefits of the association.
Beckley asked the mayor and board of aldermen to stay behind the association financially until it builds momentum.
“I want the city to continue a commitment to cover operations (costs) as we get organized,” he said. “Membership dues will be used to raise money for Main Street. As soon as we’re able to wean ourselves from the city and Rust College, we will do so.”
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry told Beckley the city will begin its next fiscal year budget process in mid-July and will be looking for support for the project then.
Beckley added that the association will be seeking grant monies as soon as its non-profit status has been accomplished. He asked DeBerry to add the Main Street Plan to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which was recently updated for zoning purposes.
Alderman Russell Johnson asked if $26,000 is enough to cover the salary requirements of the association.
“It won’t quite cover the salary,” Beckley said.
Alderman Tim Liddy added that the city’s Main Street proposal was criticized for not putting the executive director position of Main Street in the city budget and payroll.
Beckley also reported problems with a slow traffic light at Memphis Street and Rust Avenue and informed the board that the college has several requests for funding for the MI College Campus restoration before the Department of Interior.
“We have a lot of ideas but no money,” he said.
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