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Street Talk

Surprises Can Come Your Way While Sitting Under The Magnolia

Last Friday’s Farmers Market was a good one because it rained. Not a tropical storm downpour that made us cancel one earlier this year, but just a nice, short gentle shower. It felt delightful. There’s a pattern of sorts, the farmers markets with rain are great and the ones when it is bone dry and hot are less so. So, this might seem strange, but I’m hoping this week’s market gets rained on. 

Come on out this Friday afternoon from 3 to 6:30, the tomatoes are still crazy good and there’s corn and all kinds of summer freshness now coming in strong and at great prices.

So, there I was at the last farmers market sitting wet and just a bit cooler under the big magnolia and my brain started working again –  started thinking about this column and what to write. I was having a summer writer’s block spell. I was watching the action out on Main Street, it is pretty busy on Friday afternoons now. The Water Valley police were out in force on Main Street chasing down a few complaints – also, writing parking tickets – on Main Street – which I know cops don’t like doing. At all. 

I took it as positive economic sign, that there are enough cars such there is a need for parking enforcement. Of course, if you get a parking ticket, you might not see the positive side. Plus, I had to feel for the officers, they’re dressed in black and lugging all that gear – they can’t be comfortable. If you notice too, most have the windows rolled down when they’re on patrol so, they’re not chilling in the squad car either. Summer is not good police weather. Just watch for the yellow curbs when you park.

Just as I was thinking writing about the police working downtown is not the most interesting theme, up walks Ann Daigle at the Farmers Market. Ann has been to the Valley before, but it has been several years. She’s an architect and a power thinker New Urbanist. Don’t know what New Urbanism is? Here’s what the movement says about itself;

“Founded in 1993, New Urbanism is a movement united around the belief that our physical environment has a direct impact on our chances for happy, prosperous lives. New Urbanists believe that well-designed cities, towns, neighborhoods, and public places help create community: healthy places for people and businesses to thrive and prosper.”


Which means preserving the built legacy, limiting sprawl, protecting green spaces, and building neighborhoods. The kind of stuff the new generation (most of them) want.  Ann wrote a big article last year for the Congress of New Urbanism titled, “The Promise of Small Towns.”

She’s based in New Orleans, but works all over the country.  She has spent a lot of time working in north Louisiana and central Mississippi. 

Ann was on her way to small developer conference in Memphis and thought she’d pass by and see how the town was doing in the last four years. She was taken back. Last time she saw downtown, things were going good, but the Blu-Buck was still a wreck, Mechanics Bank had the big beige look, the Wagner building and a few others looked rough, and the Hendricks Machine Shop was still empty. She ended up not going to Memphis that night and staying at the Blu-Buck, going to the brewery for a beer and generally being amazed at the change and the progress and the attitude.

Sometimes just sitting under the big magnolia on Main Street, well, good surprises might come your way.

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