May 8, 2010 10:18:00 PM
A sthousands of Columbus residents and visitors from around the region flocked to downtown this weekend, enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the Market Street Festival, few probably realized the gargantuan effort that goes into staging the festival each year.
At the center of the effort is Amber Murphree Brislin, director of Main Street Columbus, and her team of staff, volunteers and contractors. While the organization backs other events throughout the year, the massive Market Street Festival, in its 15th incarnation, is certainly the largest and best attended (and the biggest fund-raiser for Main Street Columbus). Brislin estimated nearly 30,000 wandered through the streets at last year''s event and surely that many availed themselves of this year''s perfect weather to do likewise Saturday.
The festival is Columbus'' largest one-time opportunity to show off its downtown -- unique in Mississippi, with so much of its antebellum architecture intact, and a majority of its commercial and residential spaces occupied, even in the throes of a down economy.
This week, we learned what we always suspected -- we''re unique not just in the state, but the nation. Main Street Columbus was one of five downtown organizations nationwide to win a Great American Main Street Award, an honor bestowed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Main Street Columbus was honored for its efforts to spur revitalization by "working with the city to create a regulatory environment that supported a mixed-use downtown with popular upper-floor apartments."
"With a harmonious combination of retail, dining, business services, and housing in a downtown that renovated nearly every building, Columbus continues to be revitalized by revitalization projects," according to the National Trust.
While the award was bestowed upon an organization, others deserve to share some credit. The developers and building owners who invest their time and treasure on renovations to make downtown a great place to live and work; the business owners who choose to locate downtown; and those who rent our downtown apartments and invest in homes nearby -- all contribute to the livable downtown district that is thriving today.
More great things are in store for downtown. The park and soccer complex, tentatively called Tan Yard Park, that''s planned for the Burns Bottom area, is expected to be ready for the Fall 2011 youth soccer season. And, funds have been secured for the renovation of the old Highway 82 pedestrian bridge. These improvements, and others, will make downtown an even more desirable destination for visitors and residents alike.
We applaud Main Street Columbus for staying at the center of it all, drawing attention to downtown and helping make it a strong center of living, recreation and commerce for our city. We thank Brislin and her staff for another successful Market Street Festival, and for their efforts throughout the year. Main Street''s national award is well-earned and well-deserved.
Deez commented at 5/10/2010 4:01:00 PM:
Columbus doesn't even a population of 25,000, so how can you get 30,000 coming to MSF.
Obviously, they are counting people 3 times.
Columbus couldn't handle a crowd that big.
However wrote this editorial has lost their [email protected] mind!
NoSir commented at 5/10/2010 5:07:00 PM:
You are forgetting that people come in from Aberdeen, Hamilton, West Point, Starkville, and across the Alabama state line to attend Market Street. Also, the numbers for the city of Columbus do not include those who live in Caledonia or those who live in the county and in New Hope. According to the 2000 census over 61,000 people live in Lowndes county.
Columbus absolutely does have the capabilities to handle a crowd of that size. I beleive this year's event proved that again. Though next year..parking should definitely be addressed.
So maybe "whoever" wrote this editorial does know what they are talking about...
Amazing commented at 5/11/2010 9:14:00 AM:
Deez, that's an excellent point. What with the national guard blocking all entrances to the city, no one from outside Columbus could get in. The crowd estimates are obviously wrong.
msf fan commented at 5/14/2010 7:55:00 PM:
Naysayers should get a life and realize what it takes to organize this fantastic event for our community. If you had read all the other msf articles, you would know that vendors come from over 19 different states and every hotel room is booked for the weekend. Be a team player and be thankful you live in a community that hosts an annual event that has a huge economic impact and receives national recognition. And maybe next year stay home, it would help the parking issue!
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