June 24, 2014 10:52:54 AM
The Mississippi Main Street Association awarded its Best New Signage and Best New Development Project awards to Starkville last week for two visible projects in the downtown area.
The city's recently implemented wayfinding signage project earned recognition, while Renasant Bank's transformation of a once-blighted parcel and potential area economic restructuring was honored.
Both projects tie into recommendations from a 2011 study that said the city should expand its core business district outward from Main Street and create infrastructure improvements aimed at easily and effectively guiding pedestrians throughout the town.
Renasant Bank is located east of Central Station, a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Borden milk plan, at the intersection of Lampkin and South Montgomery streets. Starkville's economic developers are hopeful that the two parcels, along with improvements to the public park adjacent to Fire Station No. 1 and infrastructure projects, help seed the area for further commercial expansion.
Starkville's implementation of wayfinding signage stemmed from the 2011 study's branding recommendations. Starkville Main Street Association's Design Committee, including members Jeremy Murdock, Jim Gafford and Michelle Jones, helped craft a strategic, multi-phased plan to guide visitors from community gateways to the heart of downtown, Mississippi State University and other key destinations.
The first phase of installation yielded 11 signs at about $20,000, and additional installations are expected in the future.
Due to the comprehensive nature of Starkville's approach to wayfinding signage, the design committee and SMSA have made several statewide presentations to other committees in assistance for similar programs.
"We were so honored to be awarded with the Best New Signage award from Mississippi Main Street Association. Starkville Main Street board members and volunteers have worked so hard over the last three years to implement numerous recommendations from our charrette," said Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory. "We plan to keep working hard, and we look forward to more excellent partnerships throughout our community.
"We appreciate so much the commitment Renasant Bank has made to our downtown and community," she added. "Their development has truly created a transformation of a very high-trafficked corridor in Starkville. They are a true example of how investment can revitalize an area almost immediately."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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