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Street Talk

Valley Is Example of Small Town Resurgence

By Mickey Howley

Last Saturday afternoon was so warm and sunny it was hard to believe it was the first day of December. But good weather brought crowds out to Main Street to enjoy the Christmas parade. Nice size crowd and a fun parade. What was great to see and hear was the music on the street. The WVHS marching band coming down the street and our own local Holiday band “34th Street” jazzing up the pavilion. I just love to hear blowing horns (trumpets and tubas that is) on Main Street. Folks out having a good time in the park and on the street is what downtown is all about, wouldn’t it be great to have a Christmas parade everyday. A special thanks to J. C. Womble for organizing the parade and the WVPD routing traffic around town.
Shopping has been good this holiday season so far for many Main Street merchants. Water Valley has been doing a great job of supporting local businesses this year. Thanks and keep it up. There are still three weeks to go to Christmas. Shopping local is not only good but fun. For some more fun downtown next two Thursdays the 13th and 20th many shops on Main Street will be open late. Come by and see what the downtown Valley has to offer.
Last week Alexe van Beuren, Coulter Fussell, and I traveled to Baton Rouge. We were invited there by the Louisiana Center for Planning Excellence to present a session on Water Valley’s creative economy at the Smart Growth Summit. When the CPEX folks called us earlier this year to ask us to come, I thought at first they had made a mistake. Like called a wrong number.  I pretty much know Louisiana is not looking to Mississippi for positive role models. And vice versa. But the invitation was real and it seemed to be an icebreaker of sorts and I think that’s good. In the big picture, there is not much difference, in fact way more in common between the two states. And for Louisiana to look to us as an example of small town resurgence is a good sign and a nice compliment, too.
Closer to home Malcolm White, the head of the Mississippi Arts Com-mission talked about Water Valley in MAC’s November newsletter. Malcolm made note of WV’s recent national press and said, “Surely if our sense of place and deep cultural assets are being touted in New York…and beyond we must be on to something. Imagine where we could be if every community began to cultivate its creative assets and harness the ability to transform and invigorate everything from our educational system to our economy?” Malcolm thinks big and sees the creative life and creative economy as catalysts for smart growth and quality of life. And he is right.
And all this is working because, as we told the folks in Baton Rouge, residents in the Valley—from ones here eight days to ones here 80 years—really think WV is a place that matters. They support the economic and social life of the town. That’s why. So thanks and see you downtown.

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