May 29, 2013 10:39:10 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Each of the Golden Triangle's three cities are among 47 in Mississippi to have been designated as accredited National Main Street Programs in 2013 for meeting revitalization performance standards as dictated by the National Main Street Center.
Columbus, Starkville and West Point can each lay claim to the distinction for meeting specific criteria and standards involving the preservation and revitalization of Main Street.
Columbus has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program since 1985, according to Main Street Columbus Director Barbara Bigelow, and earning the yearly distinction yet again shows the dedication local organizations and developers have shown to improving the vitality of the downtown Columbus experience.
"Columbus Main Street is very honored and proud to again receive this distinction, We work each day to maintain a high level of achievement in all that we do for our downtown area," Bigelow said. "These statistics show how valuable a downtown is to a community and we thank the National Trust for recognizing our efforts."
For Starkville, this is the third consecutive year to earn the title. Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory said marketing and promoting the city's downtown area through events as well as strong tax collection numbers have been instrumental in the city earning the nod once again.
"We've been a Mississippi Main Street Community since September 2010. Being part of that program as well as the national program has really assisted us with formulating a master plan for growing our downtown area and further revitalizing the area as far as economically as well as aesthetically," Gregory said. "It has also allowed us to be part of a network of design professionals and planning professionals across the country that we have been able to use for strategic planning purposes but also consulting services that we think will help us in the future especially as we focus on revitalizing Highway 182 and redeveloping that area. Putting a focus on the downtown area and all of our marketing campaigns has really set us apart statewide in the success we've had in increased tourism, spending and record sales tax collection as well as food and beverage tax."
Cynthia Wilson, West Point Growth Alliance Director of Community Development, said West Point too was a multiple-time earner of the accreditation.
"The fact that West Point was one of the original Main Street communities in the state when the (Mississippi Main Street) program first began shows it has had a long history of having a Main Street program," Wilson said. "Main Street in West Point has helped us make the heart of our downtown what it is today. We continue to work with property owners to do upgrades, restoration and rehabilitation of the historic buildings in our downtown."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.