By Mickey Howley
This Thursday night, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. will be the annual Water Valley Main Street Association General Meeting. At the Main Street office at 207 N. Main Street. It is one time each year where we as an association meet as a group to do a number of things.
The biggest “business” of the night is to elect three new board members to the Main Street board. There are nine elected members on the board and they all serve a three-year term. The current board members are Bill Pullen, James Peacock, Jessie Gurner, Janet Dickey, Alexe van Beuren, Amy McMinn and the Ray family of Cora Ray, Julia Ray, and Eddie Ray. Eddie is the president. It is the board’s job to make sure the association keeps on track and gets things done. There is a yearly program of work and they plan and act on it.
You can look at the board demographics in any number of ways, like who is native or not, how many men or women, or who actually has a Main Street business, and so forth. What I find most interesting is the age range in the board. The youngest just made 30, the oldest just over 70. While not naming names, that is a 40-year range. And if you look at the general membership, there is 57-year range (82 to 25). Wherever I go in the state and visit other Main Street programs, I always ask the director that age range question. And so far the answer has always been less of a range than Water Valley. Like the average board range is 25 years and the membership range 40 years.
That tells me a few things; maybe we got some really old folks here. What the age range number really tells me is that Water Valley has a greater across generation buy-in into fixing up downtown than most places. The strength for this program is the wide support across the “ages” and that is a very positive comment on the town as a whole.
Eddie Ray has made this observation several times, that the turnover on the board is a good thing. So far nobody has been re-cycled. That’s a good thing in Eddie’s view as it builds a “critical mass” of folks in town who are active in making downtown more alive and active.
So if you are a Water Valley Main Street member or would like to be, come on over at 7 p.m. Thursday night. We’re highlighting the local food scene in the Valley and there will be plenty of great food to eat. We’re going to talk about where we have been as a Main Street and where we can go. And, we’ll celebrate those who have been doing the hard work and we’ll have a good time downtown. See you soon.