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Street Talk

Main Street Nears Decade Anniversary


The Farmers Market had a gully washer last Friday afternoon. Everyone got way beyond moist. So, there was an abbreviated market on Saturday morning, the just baked and just picked stuff had to move. But this Friday it is back to the new time for this season of 3 to 6:30 in the afternoon. Come on out and let’s hope there’s no downpour.

Many of you know the Farmers Market was the very first visible thing the Water Valley Main Street Association did, even before the association was an official Main Street program. And while the effort to be a Main Street town and begin downtown revitalization started a bit earlier, that first market starting 10 years ago was the first tangible on the street effort.  We’re coming up on the official 10th anniversary for the Water Valley Main Street Association. August 7, 2007 was the day we became officially recognized as a part of the National Main Street program and Mississippi’s 48th town in the program.

The Mississippi chapter of the American Institute of Architects has asked your Water Valley Main Street to present a talk at their convention later this week. It will be a talk about the changes in the last 10 years in this downtown and it’s a big honor for a small town. But one I think we all have earned with bringing the downtown back. I did a quick listing of the architectural professionals who have helped us, in some way, along the way. 

The biggest project by far and one that makes me smile every day is the Mechanics Bank buildings. Five buildings and huge lasting impact on our downtown. Will Lewis, Brandon Bishop, and Shipman Sloan from JBHM Architects were the guys designing that job. 

The 2009 Water Valley charrette led by Randy Wilson in his role as architect for Mississippi Main Street set the raison d’etre for fixing downtown. Good design comes from a philosophical understanding of what downtown does for the people who live here. Wilson’s running of the design charrette, façade renderings, and just infectious enthusiasm set the tone for this association. 

Working with Wilson on the charrette were Sam Kaye, Keith Kays, and Belinda Stewart. Stewart who is just down the road in Eupora has brought a strong team with pros like Jessica Harmon and Stephanie Stewart. 

Tom McGilloway and Nathan Scott worked a week from dawn to late night on the streetscape plans. Jeremey Murdoch not only did the First Impression review of the Valley, but many façade renderings. Peter Buchholz did several facades and entire building renovations from design process to actually doing the entire job. Angela Clanton and Tommy Goodman added style and color suggestions. Claire Cothren is currently working on designs for two buildings. 

David Preziosi cataloged all of downtown for the National Register of Historic Places. Taze Fulford brought his graduating class of landscape architects here from MSU to work with us. Binu Taluchan has made innovative blueprints for several downtown spaces. And Water Valley’s own Leigh Ann Black has redesigned and brought the historic character back to this newspaper office, winning a state preservation award in the process. 

That’s 20 architectural professionals working in this town the last 10 years just on Main Street. Combine that with the hundreds of folks who have one way or another pitched in, and the big picture is a large collective group effort. That the American Institute of Architects is honoring us is great, and well, we’re going to thank them.

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