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Bankhead Finds City’s New Historic District Requirements Easy To Navigate

Jordan Bankhead (right) and local sign artist Bill Warren met with the Water Valley Historic Preservation Commission last month.

WATER VALLEY – When businessman and attorney Jordan Bankhead bought and began converting the iconic building located at 102 South Main Street in Water Valley into a new restaurant and entertainment venue, he encountered a newly created city entity from which he needed approval. He found that the process was not only relatively easy to navigate, but it also provided helpful guidance and connections to materials which Bankhead sought in striving to honor the historical character of the structure. Bankhead has committed to preserving the original design and significance of the former Hendricks Foundry & Machine Shop which has also served as one of the country’s first Ford Dealerships and most recently, the Yalobusha Brewing Company.
Bankhead hired a local sign artist, Bill Warren, as part of his combined efforts in converting and branding the Hendricks Building in uniformity with the look and character of Main Street in Water Valley.
In February 2020, the Water Valley Historic District was officially established by city ordinance in order to preserve the unique qualities, character and charm of Water Valley, as well as to guide the orderly growth and development within the district.  The district is also a certified local government, a designation which brings opportunities to bring federal and state funding to local business owners. Certified local government communities are eligible for annual matching grants through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to undertake preservation projects of importance to the community for such diverse projects as the restoration of historic buildings; historical, architectural, or archaeological site inventory work and preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, among other things.
Bankhead filed for a sign permit to be designed by Warren and was advised that he also needed to file a “Certificate of Appropriateness” application for the Water Valley Historic Preservation Commission to consider.  As a by-product of interacting with commission members, Bankhead was able to obtain the contact of a St. Louis supplier of unique art deco glass which will contribute to the historical integrity Bankhead intends to implement in the project.
Any owner or tenant of property in the historical district who wishes to alter the exterior aspects of any resource contained within the locally designated Historic District must not only file all applicable city permits, but also complete and file a Certificate of Appropriateness application as well. Forms are available at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.
Bankhead found the process less onerous than might be expected. “The commission made the application process seamless and efficient. I was notified of a virtual Zoom meeting which made it easy for me and Bill to attend. We explained the materials and intentions for installing the new sign, and the feedback we received was positive and helpful. We were approved and the new sign should go up soon right on schedule along with our branding and construction plans.”
While the commission meets regularly once each quarter, it also has the ability to meet in special meetings when matters require more frequent or urgent consideration. All meetings are open to the public and advance notice is posted at City Hall.
Water Valley Historic Preservation Commission President Mickey Howley encourages owners and city residents to learn more about the benefits of the new historic designation for the health, safety, prosperity, education and general welfare of the people living in and visiting the city and for the potential grant and funding opportunities that are now available as a result. The city’s historic preservation district contains the commercial core of Water Valley, along Main Street roughly from Young Street on the south to Market Street on the north. The district covers the east and west sides of Main Street along with the streets surrounding the county courthouse east of Main Street.
For more information contact:  Commission President Mickey Howley at or Secretary Robbie Fisher at Other committee members include Leigh Ann Black, Chad Franks and Nicolas Trepanier.

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