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Street Talk

New Manager On Board At Water Valley Main Street Association

By Susan Hart

Hello. I am Susan Hart, the new Manager for Water Valley Main Street Association (WVMSA). I hope to share interesting and exciting news about the progress, efforts and projects of the WVMSA.

Originally, I am from Russellville, Ark. After marrying Ken Hart we lived a couple of years in Ala., but came to his hometown of Water Valley in 1999 after we were expectant with our first daughter, Vaughn. Our second, Jana came along in 2002. Since then, we have enjoyed a lifestyle unique to a place like Water Valley.  

Like many people in Water Valley, my family and I attend church on Main Street. We get our hair cuts on Main Street. The girls go to art and dance classes on Main Street. When we get sick we see a doctor on Main Street, get our prescriptions filled at a Main Street pharmacy. We bank on  Main Street. We dine out on Main Street. We fuel up on Main. We go to festivals, carnivals, and parades on Main Street. We get our groceries, auto supplies, hardware, lumber, birthday, wedding and specialty gifts, furniture, insurance and much more on Main Street.

Now, I am on Main Street, and look forward to continuing the energy and focus of past managers, Alexe van Beuren and Jesse Gurner, in promoting the charm, importance, and growth of Main Street, Water Valley.

Annual Meeting

My work with WVMSA began immediately, preparing for the annual meeting Thursday night, October 9. Board president Lee McMinn reviewed all the success throughout WVMSA’s first year and plans for its future. Sam Agnew, Director of Program Services, Mississippi Main Street Association attended and was recognized. He spoke briefly but enthusiastically of the strides our own Main Street Program has made since it’s conception in September 2007, saying that some of the more established main streets in his region have not made as much progress as Water Valley in its first year.

Members voted for 3 new Board members to replace 3 who will be rolling off. Amos Harvey, Becky Tatum, and Bobby Turnage were voted in. The WVMSA board will make appointments soon. Awards were presented by Jesse Gurner to outstanding volunteers and board members

Better Backstreet Program

The Better Backstreet program, funded by Appalachian Community Learning Project grant, is well underway with significant progress being made. Volunteers are still needed during the next several weekends. Carpenters with know-how and want-to are needed for creating A/C unit surrounds. The fencing has already been assembled and painted. Each Saturday in October from 8AM until 1PM, the WVMSA crew and volunteers will be cleaning and painting along Duncan Street. You may contact this office, 473-6767 or manager@watervalleymainstreet.com to find out how you can help. Better yet, simply show up and let them put you to work. As of Saturday, October 11, 2008, plans are to continue painting as weather permits and start landscaping by the end of the month. “Betty Ruth Swearengen advised us on appropriate plants, and we’ve been checking out some nurseries,” said WVMSA member Ramona Bernard. “We’ve added two more buildings to the project this week, Varner Printing and Movietyme, so we’ve extended our painting timeline.”  

The youth group from First United Methodist Church spent the morning preparing flower beds, pulling down vines, cleaning curb sides and painting.  Youth Pastor, Brad Sartor and his wife Mandy, led the group of 8 kids and parents. “Alexe (van Beuren) asked if Better Backstreet was a project my youth could get into,” said Brad. “We thought it would be good for the kids and the town. Youth who volunteer on projects like this one are connecting taking care of Creation with taking care of their own community.”

Art Exhibit  

Last Monday night WVMSA president, Lee McMinn presented “Seasons & Moods” Art Exhibit at his historic office building, 610 N. Main Street. The show is sponsored by Lee and curated by Pati D’Amico and William Warren.  Music by Water Valley based songwriters and singers, Ken Hart and Thompson/Ward duo was played at the gallery opening. Original art by D’Amico and Warren, along with Anissa Wilkinson, Barry Weeks, Megan Kingery, Rachel Ballentine, and Leslie Love  are displayed. Original paintings, photography, pottery, collage and sculptures by these local artists will continue to be on exhibit for the next 3 weeks. “We want folks to come see the talent Water Valley has to offer. I am delighted to display these artists and promote yet another side of our wonderful and diverse town,” said McMinn. The works are displayed throughout his Kessinger Real Estate office.

Movie On Main Street

“That ain’t tactics, honey. That’s just the beast in me.”- Elvis, as Vince Everett in the 1957 classic, Jailhouse Rock. Take advantage of the milder weather and enjoy this first-ever WVMSA sponsored “Movie on Main Street.” Coordinated by Amos Harvey, Coulter Fussell, John and Becky Tatum, PJ and Kathryn Blount, Kagan Coughlin, and Alexe van Beuren, the movie will be projected onto the south side of the building at the corner of Main and Panola Streets beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Popcorn donated by Renasant Bank will be available.     Candy and drinks may be purchased as well as dinner plates by Tatum’s White Star Kitchen. Bring a lawn chair and a wrap. If it rains, “The show will go on in the Parker Building,” according to building owner Kagan Coughlin. “With good participation this event will make more appearances in the months to come.”

There are so many opportunities to improve and enjoy our Main Street. If you would like to become a WVMSA member, please pick up a form at Mechanics Bank, Renasant Bank, or Turnage Drug Store.

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