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Vallians Can Help Mold Future

Sam Agnew, Director of Program Services for Mississippi Main Street Association, and Susan Hart, Program Manager for the Water Valley Main Street Association, conducted a zip code survey earlier this week. The information gathered by retailers will be used during the upcoming Charrette and will help local merchants better understand their market. – Photo by Jack Gurner

Planning For The Future – During the Water Valley Ambassadors meeting held Tuesday morning, Water Valley Main Street Director Susan Hart encouraged members to attend Monday’s town hall meeting, which will focus on why people like their hometown. Attending the meeting include (stand, from left) Don Holloway, Robert Reid, Jimmy Berry, Larry Hart and Nell Cox; (seated) Geri Mitchell, Shirley Berry, Hart, and Mim Carpenter. – Photo by Lucia Holloway

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Residents will get a chance to help shape the future of the city during a town hall style meeting Monday, Jan. 12, beginning at 6 p.m. in the courthouse.

The gathering is part of an intense three-day community development exercise called a charrette.”

Under this program a group of selected professionals from the fields of architecture, economic development, marketing, historic preservation and engineering work together with members of the community to formulate a long-range development plan.

The cost of this program is approximately $30,000, but Mississippi Main Street covers all that, according to Bill Taylor, president of the Water Valley Main Street Association.

Water Valley was selected this year along with Carthage and Holly Springs. Eventually 14 communities will participate in the two-year program that is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the West Alabama-East Mississippi Regional Initiative.

“We want to utilize this group of professionals to help us implement the ideas of Water Valley’s own residents, not to simply show us a list of things that have worked in other communities,” Taylor said.

The only guideline for these ideas is “No Whining,” Taylor emphasized  “They want to hear what we like about Water Valley and want to build on, not our complaints.”

During the charrette, one-on-one interviews, site tours, and other activities provide the team an opportunity to understand the issues facing the community and propose appropriate solutions.

The remainder of the charrette is spent with the design team producing diagrams, plans, renderings, and other materials to illustrate their recommendations. All of these will be presented to the community as a rough draft during the final presentation Wednesday evening, Jan. 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the courthouse.

“We were thrilled to have been chosen,” said Susan Hart, manager of WVMSA. “They were impressed by what Water Valley has already accomplished and our future potential.”

For additional information, contact the WVMSA at 473-3796 or 473-6767.

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