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Street Talk

Monday night the City Planning Commission denied the application for a demolition permit for the buildings at 305 and 307 North Main Street. The room at City Hall was overflowing, with people standing in the entranceway. Planning Commission chairman Eddie Foster told the crowd the purpose of the commission’s work. The Zoning Law of 2006 is what this commission is charged with enforcing and that code is a plan for the economic good, the general well-being, and prosperity of residents of Water Valley.  

   The Zoning Law of 2006, along with the start of the Main Street Association in 2007, have put downtown on its current positive track. I’m sure no one wishes to go back to that time when there was real demolition by neglect issues. 

  Water Valley’s comeback, driven by its residents, is an economic turnaround despite hard times. The resulting overall benefit for all have been great.


Last Friday night the City Council, in a special meeting, took steps to help Base Camp Academy expand. The plan is to make education a wider and higher priority for those who live here. Better education for all is the key to our future and it is plain smart to use what we already have in educating those who live here. Elected city leaders should be applauded for this effort, education is the key to most progress. 

    In this same meeting city leaders also eliminated from the 2014 city beer ordinance the sentence concerning the “anticipation” of a meal. This sentence was perhaps the most objected to section, and frankly unenforceable part, of what has been a controversial law. 

   Will Oxford businessman Terry Warren continue in his wish to demolish historic buildings on our Main Street? I don’t know. I would hope he would seek other means of divesting himself from them, which seems his greatest desire.  

   His claim of a best personal financial gain via tax write-off by demolishing them is not accurate. What is better choice for all and his own individual wealth, would to be either to sell or donate the buildings. Take the loss on the sale (if there was a loss, there may not be) and apply it to his tax liability. Or donate the buildings along the same lines like Carothers Construction did. 

   I would like to thank Joe York for writing this column for four weeks in a row. I’ve known Joe since 1999. He wrote a piece about Hernando de Soto back then, not so much on de Soto himself, but on the trail of Hernandian residue across the South. I’ve known him to be a good writer for 20 years and when he said he would write Street Talk, I knew he’d do something different.  What Joe suggested for Main Street are two things; make better use of the Pocket Park and work to have more upper floor living downtown. 

   What Joe wrote about education, making it the priority, is  by far the most important thing any community or state can do. Note a similar column by Lee McMinn that essentially expressed the same sentiment. The highest and best standards of living for all people are places where the education system is consistently of the highest quality.

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