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WATER VALLEY – Water Valley Main Street Association Director Alyssa Benedict reported planning is underway for a blues festival scheduled in the city on March 27. Benedict shared details about the Casey Jones Blues Festival during her monthly report to city officials during the Nov. 7 meeting. Planned activities for the event include music, vendor booths, a kids zone, a corn hole tournament and other activities including the possibility of a 5K race. A portion of Main Street near Railroad Park will be closed during the event to accommodate foot traffic and a large stage.
“We are already getting lots of attention from it,” Benedict shared about preliminary work including reaching out to sponsors. “We are working on a good line-up for it, we are working on vendors.”
She explained that the date was selected so the event would be after spring break and before the Double Decker festival in Oxford. The festival will start around 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.
Benedict’s monthly report to alderpersons also included an update on a $100,000 revitalization grant that was awarded to the Water Valley Main Street Association for a streetscape project last year. She reported work will soon start on updated street signage.
“Then we will move into bump-outs and cross-walks,” Benedict explained.
Benedict also reported that board members for the Main Street Association were selected during the annual meeting last month. Hallie Thomas will serve as president for 2024. New board members include Justin McDaniel, owner of the Courthouse Commons, and Caitlin Magnuson, owner of the Magnolia Coffee Co.
Other activity in the Nov. 7 city meeting included:
• Okesha Moore provided details about another festival, “Water Valley Day,” that will coincide with homecoming weekend next September. The event will start around 10 a.m. on the Saturday morning following the Water Valley High School homecoming game the night prior and include vendors and music.
“This is our first time doing this. When I had ‘I’m so Water Valley,’ it turned out great. So now we decided to have a ‘Water Valley Day,’” Moore told alderpersons. Moore previously coordinated “I’m so Water Valley” a block party in Baker Street Park prior to Covid.
Moore added that others in the community will assist including Steve Thompson, who will line up the musicians.
“We plan on having a really nice time and I want to make it happen for 2024,” Moore told city officials.
“One thing you probably need to let your vendors know is that we can’t provide electricity. We have outlets at City Park, but none on Main Street. The vendors will need generators,” Gray said. “The biggest thing is to keep coming to the board with updates. September is a long way off, but it will be here before you know it.”
• Mayor Donald Gray reported that the Water Valley Planning Commission provided a recommendation in favor of a request from Brandon Crocker to rezone a parcel of property on Jones Street from residential one to residential two. A public hearing was scheduled for public input on January 3. After the hearing, alderpersons will make a decision on the request.
• Water and sewer department superintendent David Floyd requested an increase in the amount of the deposit to receive city water. The current deposit for residential customers is $25, and Floyd’s recommendation is to increase the deposit to $150. The deposit is a one-time fee for new customers. The requested increase will require amending the city’s water ordinance, a three-month process that includes notifying customers and allowing public input before a final vote. Aldermen voted unanimously to authorize city attorney Daniel Martin to start the process to amend the ordinance.
“If they put up the deposit and skip out on the bill, at least we will have that. As y’all know, we are always six weeks in the arrears with billing,” Gray said.
“Right, this will help with that,” Floyd said.
“I know it hasn’t been changed in 15 years,” Gray noted about the $25 deposit.