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Street Talk

Main Street Success Touted In D.C. Trip

Monday of last week I drove to Washington D.C. It was cherry blossom week, but I didn’t see them. I was there for the National Trust for Historic Preservation Advocacy Week on Capitol Hill. Main Street is part of the National Trust and along with some of the crew from Mississippi Heritage Trust, we were there to talk to congress people about preservation and rehabilitations going on in Mississippi. And also talk about a bill now in Congress that would support Main Street building fixing and businesses. 

It was a nationwide convening of downtown and small town economic developers and state historic officers, all those who work with a preservation ethic, to meet in Washington.

There was meteorological interference with the trip. A big snowstorm up in the northeast last week was messing up the logistics. Ironically the Weather Channel gave it a name with southern overtones. Stella!!! Stella had D.C. shut down Tuesday morning. I mean there was some snow like 4 to 5 inches, enough to close schools and the airport, but not so much where it was life ending. It was enough such that I wore my waterproof boots because the streets were not cleared and the sidewalks not touched. So I walked the two miles from my cheapo digs in the northeast D.C. hood to the semi-swankiest Liaison joie de vivre hotel where the Preservation Advocacy conference was. 

Nice walk because no cars were rolling and there were very few people out (like 10), all of who had the knowing smile and short “Hey” as if we were collectively in the gotta walk through the snow club. 

So I made it to the meetings, but wearing boots.

A big part of this trip and the whole D.C. effort was asking how better to serve preservation based development efforts, efforts that are bringing economic vitality back to this Main Street and many others. There is a bill in Congress called the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act. 

All of the Mississippi congress members have signed on to the bill and our two senators are co-sponsors. Which makes Mississippi the first and only state to have the entire congressional delegation supporting small town Main Streets – a fact we did not let the other 49 states forget. 

We told them, “If Mississippi can do it, y’all can do it too.” It was so great to be the first in a positive category. I’m telling you we should do it more often, because it feels good. And as for our Congressional representatives and senators and their energetic staffs, well, they could not have been more helpful. The visits to their offices were great and, with their leadership, this bill will become something that will help all of us here in Water Valley.

Make a note on you calendar. Jack Gurner has a photography show opening the evening of April 7th Bozarts Gallery. 

That’s a Friday night and you should make a note to come see this show. Jack has been a photographer all his life. Like from day one. His show at Bozarts is from the time he was in Memphis as a newspaper photographer in the 1970s and 80s. 

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