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Main Street Columbus, Kaye honored at statewide luncheon


Jordan Novet



Main Street Columbus won two statewide awards, and a design award was named after a Columbus resident, at a banquet in Jackson on Thursday. 


The Mississippi Main Street Association distributed the awards at a luncheon at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.  


The first award was for best public-private partnership, which went to the Hitching Lot Farmers'' Market, which cooperates with the City of Columbus through Main Street Columbus.  


The second award was for best special event, which Main Street Columbus received for its first-ever New Year''s Eve ball drop and block party last year. 


And the statewide Excellence in Design Award became the Sam Kaye Excellence in Design Award, named after the Columbus architect. 


"It just really shows that so much is possible in Columbus," said Main Street Columbus Manager Amber Murphree Brislin as she was driving back to Columbus on Thursday. "... Columbus is growing. Therefore, our downtown is growing with it. So, in order to become more successful, it''s important to create community events that contribute to the pride we have in Columbus." 


Jan Miller, a former manager of Main Street Columbus and now Mississippi Main Street''s central district director -- she works with 21 communities in the central part of the state -- said Main Street Columbus is "the shining star in the state." 


Bob Wilson, the executive director of the Mississippi Main Street Association, was not in Columbus for the block party and ball drop. "I wish I had been," he said by phone on Thursday. "Amber provided some great video and pictures and all the publicity that happened with it, and it really looked like a neat event." 


As for the farmers'' market, he said, "We just thought it was really a great project to show what you can do when everybody works together and is on the same page with a project." 


And Wilson said he and his staffers had been trying to come up with a way to honor Kaye for years, since the Columbus resident was involved with Main Street from its inception in the 1980s. Kaye volunteered his services pro-bono, going into towns entering the state Main Street program to learn about them.  


He loved exploring towns he''d never visited before and earned the nickname "Map Man," Wilson told the crowd at the luncheon. 


To commemorate Kaye''s long service, Wilson gave Kaye two framed maps of Mississippi, one from 1822 and another from around 1890.  


"They''re very interesting," Kaye said. "Old maps have a lot of stories to tell."




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