Street Talk

Valley’s ‘Walkability’ Part Of Its Charm

By Mickey Howley

The one way of getting around that all humans have, and the one thing we were designed to do is walk. That’s right, we are bipedal by design. Some wise sages, like for example Bruce Springsteen, suggest that we all are “born to run.”  That is essentially true, there is runner buried in all of us, some of us pretty deep. Many have let that running option fade away. Most still walk some.
The need for speed and the love of the machine has gotten to us, however. We are dependent on them now. That’s a bit ironic as this whole planes, trains, and automobile thing is relatively new, but we are collectively married to this newer technology. Until just a few hundred years ago all traveling was by foot, your own two or the horse’s four, or maybe floating with sail or paddle as propulsion.  
There is a shift, ever so slight, in this machinery moving us around dependency. Towns like Water Valley–built before automobiles are benefiting. Take a look at any 100-year-old photo of the town. You’ll recognize many of the structures and the essential layout, but won’t see a single automobile. People walked or maybe used a horse and buggy if they had to move something. And so the town was built to be pedestrian friendly. That’s the difference between a town and suburbia. In the suburbs, or out in the county for that matter, any errand or trip or just getting out means a car ride.
This summer three houses, one on Main Street and two right off, were bought by folks new to WV who expressly stated one of the primary reasons (can you have more than one primary reason?) was they could easily walk to downtown. They love the old houses, they like downtown, and they want to walk. And not get in the car to do everything.
Speaking of walking, actually crawling, the 5th WV Studio ArtCrawl is coming up fast. It will be the Saturday after next, September 21 from 5:30 to 9 p. m. This event is free to the public. Always has been.
There are 15 stops on the tour; eight are new to this year’s Crawl. All but one of the Crawl locations are within easy walking distance of each other. Stops on the tour will offer visitors light refreshments and a peek into the private world of working artists. Some studios will include displays of other local artists’ work. Children are welcome.  There will be a map in next week’s paper and you can pick up a fan map the night of the crawl at any location and start anywhere.
Also walking around town over the next weeks will be 25 seniors from Ole Miss. They are all working on a capstone project for an Integrated Marketing degree, which is a new program at the University of Mississippi. Water Valley is their client this semester. Not sure what IM is? Well, it is the combination of public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion, event planning and “new” media. I guess they do newspapers, too. Look out for them while you are walking around tell them what you think is good about Water Valley.

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