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Street Talk

Football Kicks Off With Pep Rally Downtown

By Mickey Howley

Football starts this Friday. This Thursday the 27th, Main Street is sponsoring a pep rally for the Blue Devils downtown in Railroad Park at 6pm. There will be music, balloons, cheering, and a chance to meet the 2009 Blue Devil team. Come on downtown and support these guys, you know they have been sweating hard to get ready.

Last Friday I was down south sweating again for a Mississippi State Extension Service event in McNeill. If you don’t know where McNeill is, don’t feel alone. It is down off I-59 mixed in among the string of P-Towns (Picayune, Poplarville, Purvis) that border the interstate highway and where all the Main Streets are US Highway 11. I was there for an extension service seminar, and while most seminars are inside this one happened to be in the middle of an experimental field.

I had forgotten how hot an open field under a clear blue sky in the middle of August in south Mississippi can be. But with my memory refreshed, the seminar continued. If you are a big time farmer, a farmers market grower, a backyard planter, or just interested like me, these events are a great way to find out information and ideas that work in your garden. Contact our local agent Steve Cummings at 675-2730 or check out the website at for more information on MSU Extension seminars.

 On the way back from McNeill, I stopped off in downtown Hattiesburg and had a bite to eat at The Bottling Company. If you have not been to downtown Hattiesburg recently, I suggest you stop next time you are in the area. Hattiesburg has been a Main Street town for a number of years and you can really see it in their downtown.

The Bottling Company is a restaurant and small concert hall in a restored older two story brick building. By 2004 when the restoration began, the building, which had been originally been built in 1915 as the local Coca-Cola bottling plant, had not been used for many years and was in run down state. The renovation took two years and the builders re-worked the interior space, partially removing the second floor to create a large open space for concerts with a viewing gallery using the remaining second floor. They did all this using material and trim that makes the new configuration seem original.

The restaurant and music events in the building really draw people downtown both day and night. Mississippi Main Street awarded The Bottling Company the “Best Adaptive Re-Use Award” for 2007. And, Mississippi Magazine named it the “Best Place to Find Great Music” for 2008. Restorations like this one just don’t happen. You can bet it took lots of effort from the City of Hattiesburg, Main Street, investors, and developers to pull off such a centerpiece. Next time you are in Hattiesburg, drive downtown and check it out.

Last week I mentioned that the 2009 Water Valley Planning Charrette posters are in. Come by the office if you would like one, or call 473-3796 or e-mail me a

 Our survey last week asked what ideas proposed by the Charrette you would like to see. The options were: Big Yank brought back to life, a Town Creek walking and biking trail, trees on Main Street, more restaurants, an expanded Railroad Park to set off the courthouse, and banners and crosswalks on Main Street. Trees on Main came in first, with a close and tight tie for the Town Creek trail and expanding Railroad Park in second place.

See for this week’s survey on what is your favorite park in Water Valley.

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