By Mickey Howley
Every year about this time Water Valley Main Street makes New Year’s resolutions. We call them our Program of Work. It is a document the WVMSA puts together and it says what we’re going to do for the coming year. And it is always great to look at the last year’s “resolutions” and compare them to the reality of what was done. What did we accomplish, what is still work in progress, what did not happen at all, and what was not on the list but was done because of an opportunity.
This whole process is not just a yearly exercise for fun because saying what we’re going to do and then doing it justifies our existence. The WVMSA is a volunteer driven group. And this document is our yearly list of goals. These goals are why volunteers give their time, why members support the association, why local institutions and business also underwrite our efforts, and why public partners like the City and state agencies assist us and work with us.
And guiding us in putting the 2013 Program of Work together is the WVMSA mission statement, “The mission of the Water Valley Main Street Associ-ation is to promote Water Valley’s Main Street District as the focus of a community where history is preserved; businesses thrive; and citizens and visitors dine, shop, live, and enjoy the arts and entertainment.”
With a five-year track record, the WVMSA already has some project that will be repeated. For instance, the downtown Farmers Market will be back this year. The market has been one of those on-going events that steadily works more for the town than its seeming composite parts. It is more than just tomatoes.
Semi-new for this year, because we had it only part of the year in 2012, is working with building owners who are renovating or considering renovating their commercial buildings armed with the National Register of Historic Places tax credits. These significant tax credits can have up to 45% renovation expenses—roof, plumbing, A/C, wiring, interior work, windows and walls– back in your pocket. Big incentives for fixing commercial buildings and putting them back in service. Another tangent inline with this is a focus on upper floor apartments, using all that mostly empty space downtown and bringing it back to life.
An on-going effort the WVMSA does is promoting Water Valley. Something we have done from the beginning. Always promoting the benefits of buying local (a Really Big Thanks to all who shopped local this Holiday Season). Constant-ly promoting Water Valley in the area as a place to live and work. And last year we had some luck via collective hard work that resulted in some great national press.
And there is the WV Arts Council’s consistent effort to promote the arts in the Valley. The Art Crawl is just one example. The coming pocket park will have a space for public art, bringing art outside.
If you would like to be a part of the energy or have an idea you would like to volunteer for, join the WVMSA or WVAC for the New Year, it will be one the best resolutions you could make.