By Susan Hart
At last Wednesday’s Charrette presentation, I met Mike Armour, with Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). ARC helps fund the Charrette planning for the North Mississippi communities that have participated. Mr. Armour came to the Water Valley presentation after a meeting with the Governor. “I told Gov. Barbour where I was headed,” said Mike. “When I told him about the Charrette program and presentation, the Governor said that Water Valley was a good choice. And that he would like to see more money spent on Water Valley.”
Well, we certainly agree with Governor Barbour. One shocking item that was mentioned in the market analysis segment of the Charrette is how much money is being “leaked” into other retail hubs, namely, Oxford. It is estimated that over 100 million dollars is spent annually outside Water Valley. Our little town spends $131,755,925.00 on retail goods, yet we only sell $29,913,297.00 annually. The data also provides some suggestions for reasonable market potential. Based on the reports, Water Valley could support 2,000 more square feet of home furnishings at $1.3 million dollars in sales. There is opportunity for 2,000 square feet of sporting goods, hobbies, music, and books at $1.9 million in sales. Specialty foods and dining also show great potential. (data is compiled and prepared by CLARITAS Inc., for Arnett Muldrow & Associates, planner for the Charrette Program).
In addition to retail markets, the Charrette also explored areas which make, and could make better, the residential living experience in Water Valley. Landscape and urban planners mapped and sketched ideas for walking/biking trails, a park system that networks our existing city parks, and more green space and water features for our downtown district. Wayfinding and signage was another suggested feature to add to the walkability and historic dynamic of Water Valley.
Attention was also given to our buildings and homes. The architecture of the existing structures caused excitement and creativity with the Charrette architects and historic preservationists. Hundreds of photographs were taken during the 3 day Charrette. Only a few proposals were included in the hour and half presentation. However, WVMSA will receive all these resources once the report is completed. We look forward to sharing with Water Valley the wealth of information and plans for our charming town.
Look for more to come on our website: www.watervalleymainstreet.com, and this newspaper.