I, along with many other Vallians, attended the final session of Water Valley’s Charrette, Wednesday night.
During the Monday night’s program, much input was taken from the audience and then on Wednesday night, the professional team gave short and long range suggestions for implementing these improvements using the data gained on Monday.
There was to be no negative in either of these sessions. My thoughts were not exactly negative—I’m an eternal optimist by nature. However, I did have one recurring positive/negative wave that kept popping up. Due to my being a Main Street resident (I do have a home in the country, but for most of my years in the Valley, I’ve spent much more time in town than there. In the early years 100+ hours weekly) I recall that we had much of the things requested and let them slip away. Probably 75 percent of the suggestions for bettering our city we’ve had and lost, due to lack of support.
Some of these are (and lots of other people remember these also, I’ve not dreamed this) are a swimming pool, we had an olympic size state-of-the art pool built in 1958. It was closed and deteriorated to the point that it was filled in and a football field was built. Adjacent to this pool were a wading pool, excellent tennis courts (another suggestion), a bathhouse and restrooms, along with an excellent concession stand.
More grocery stores are needed. At one time we had four major grocery stores, along with several smaller stores and they all survived until folks decided that food was cheaper and better if bought out of town. We still have one excellent grocery and I still buy all my groceries in the Valley, along with 90 percent of what goes to my Mom’s in Panola County. I go with my sister when she shops in Batesville and our prices, across the board, are better than hers. Batesville has many major stores.
In my early days in the Valley we had numerous excellent department stores, three lumber companies, several drug stores, children’s stores, three car dealerships, a tractor/farm implement dealership, public transportation, a skating rink, public water fountains, a pastry shop, a shoe repair shop, that also sold shoes and boots, a fabric shop, great 5 and 10 cent stores, repair shops for electronics, two jewelry shops (sales and service), restaurants, and many things I’m sure I’ve forgotten. It was a great place to live, and it’s still a great place to live. I love the Valley and I’d like to see all these things back. However, let me urge you to support them if people invest their time and material possessions to get them up and operating again. I’d certainly like to have all of these wonderful businesses back in our city.
Had one person tell me that they’d like very much to open a donut/coffee shop here. I hope this happens—I do like great donuts, but more than this, I like the fellowship that you find when you can sit down and visit in a shop (makes me homesick for George and Myrtle Miles food and for visiting with fellow Main Streeters and hearing the events of the day discussed at the counter.) Let me tell you though, that at the present you can get delicious donuts and pastries at Larson’s.
Another feeding place was Bennie’s Place, where Ludie and Ben stayed open until the wee hours so those of us who had to work would have a place to eat. Also kept the teenagers out of mischief.
In the recent past we’ve had two excellent B&B’s and I don’t think these closed due to lack of support, but probably from time and health reasons of the owners. I’ve heard several voice interest in this venture—I think it would be a fun business and should be very successful due to our proximity to Ole Miss.
Some of the facts given Wednesday night were amazing. The most interesting to me was that our average income is $34,000 per year and that Oxford’s is only $36,000. We did fall a bit behind in the $75,000 up range. Another was that Oxford is also leaking spendable dollars—we think most of ours are going there.
The most impressive beautification project for me was the water feature between Main Street and the courthouse. Visual was amazing. They suggested relocating El Charritos, putting in a small pond, with a fountain in the center and beautiful landscaping around it. We almost had this, but didn’t have vision enough to know we needed to keep it. Town Creek had almost eroded to the point that the building (now Mexican restaurant) was falling into the creek, and it was very wide at this point. Just a little digging, placing a fountain, and landscaping would have accomplished this suggestion.
We do appreciate the hard work done by the Water Valley Main Street Association, and this team that came in. I do hope that much of the short- and long-term suggested improvements will be accomplished.
Several members of Woodland Hills went over to Bruce, where we visited Calvary Church there. Hosting us were Pastor Dub Harrelson, and Vallian Tim Sutherland (son of Sammie and the late Toy Sutherland, brother of Cindy Dickey.) Our church building is very similar to this church. Since we’re about to embark on plans for our foyer and sanctuary, we all wanted to see what they’d done with theirs. Their church is beautiful, and with a few minor adjustments (they told us some areas to do differently), I’m sure we’ll look much the same. Was great to visit with Bro. Dub and Tim, and to see their wonderful facilities.
Didn’t get to Mom’s until Sunday. Mom is fine and the ailing members of the family are improving.
With the holiday, Main Street is quiet today (Monday.) We’ve had very little traffic and not many phone calls.
After those cold days last week, the sunshine today is great, even if that north wind is very cold. I didn’t sustain any frozen pipes, but I’m sure the utility bill will be costly. My house stayed very comfortable, even without insulation. Have the Lee brothers out today, remedying that problem. Ed began insulating the attic over 20 years ago. Got all the old insulation out and then was interrupted. We never got back to this project. Bob called a little while ago and reported that it would be completed before day’s end. That’s good news, since I think we’re in for a bit more cold weather.
Talked to Jim late Thursday night. He called to tell me that he had attended a Stamps Quartette Concert, and it was very good. Jim has always been a fan of Southern Gospel and used to enjoy hearing Ed and me tell about the concerts we attended in our early years, presented by many of these famous gospel groups. He says that only one of the early singers is still with the quartette. The others have come on board in the past few years. I think Jim would like to take one of these singers place for just a little while—he does like to sing.
I’m looking forward to getting home tonight and viewing the happenings of the day, political wise. It’s great that so many had a holiday today (Monday) and got to watch the inaugural proceedings. Some schools are declaring another holiday tomorrow, so that students and teachers can watch the entire process. There may even be some businesses that are providing this service for their employees.
Unfortunately, weekly newspaper have to work on Monday and Tuesday in order produce a paper. We’ll just have to play catch-up with all the inaugural celebrations as time permits.