Making The Best Of What You Already Have
By Alexe van Beuren
Phew. I am just back from a Main Street Manager Conference in Columbus, Mississippi. And while I’m not a big fan of conferences in general (too much food and too much talk), this one was truly worth the traveling.
Over 50 Mississippi Main Street towns had representatives attend, from Hernando to Magee to Vicksburg. It is a great and wonderful thing how many towns are working to revitalize their main streets.
A big topic of discussion was capitalizing on existing assets. For example Woodville, Mississippi is organizing a festival based on its hunters. Each season, Woodville grants the greatest number of out-of-state hunting licenses in the state, and so they’re holding a Deer and Wildlife Festival in October, which will feature wild game cooking contests and more. (Sounds a whole lot like our Wildlife Tasting Banquet, no?) But instead of keeping it local, Woodville is using their popularity with the hunting crowd to try and grow a festival with broad appeal.
Likewise, Indianola– the pecan capital of Mississippi– will be holding their first-ever Pecan Festival in the fall of 2009.
So let’s put on our thinking caps: what is Water Valley GOOD at? Watermelons, of course; railroads. Small-town charm. Those are the top three that spring to my mind.
Make sure to write down your answers and bring them to the town hall meeting: October 20th, 6pm at the Courthouse. We need to tell these Charette folks Water Valley’s strengths so they can help us dream up a master plan for the town.
The first trash cans, donated by the Town and Country Garden Club, have appeared on Main Street. What a difference! We are a lucky town indeed to have so many dedicated organizations working so hard to improve every area of our community.
Speaking of improvements: there was the tiniest rumor going around the street this week that the vacant buildings between the Water Valley Cleaners and the North Mississippi Herald office are going to be undergoing major renovations. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Let’s hope so!
Actually, anyone owning property on Main Street may be eligible for our new low-interest loan program, offered by Mechanics and Renasant Banks through the WVMSA. If you are looking to improve, build, or invest in your Main Street building, you’ll be able to borrow money BELOW prime. Come by the WVMSA office for details.
Last week’s poll at watervalleymainstreet.com determined that the majority of Water Vallians think that the old Ford dealership is the most beautiful building in Water Valley. Check out the site for this week’s poll about the best-tasting local melons.
Lastly, don’t forget the Pep Rally, downtown at the Bandstand THIS Thursday! The program begins at 6:30pm, but come early and eat goodies sold by the Booster Club.
I’ll see you there, and have a great week in the Valley.