Starkville formally became one of 50 communities in the Mississippi Main Street Association Thursday, with officials saying the partnership will help the community continue to move forward.
The ceremony took place at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Thursday morning.
Jennifer Gregory, vice president for tourism development for the GSDP, will manage the Main Street program and Robyn Cain will serve as the Starkville Main Street program coordinator.
Gregory has said membership in the MMSA will bring a “vast amount of resources” to Starkville.
This includes grant opportunities, networking with other, similar communities and staff and at a regional and state level who can help local officials troubleshoot and plan for upcoming downtown events
and overall beautification and revitalization projects planned for the upcoming year, Gregory has said.
Officials are awaiting word on potential funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission for a charrette. This is a community design workshop where professionals in marketing and branding, landscaping, community planning, design and preservation will come into Starkville, Gregory has said.
Several officials made comments at Thursday’s ceremony including Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman.
“... The overall economic health and vitality of a community is directly tied to the health and vitality of the downtown heartbeat of a community. ... This community is where it is not because we haven’t had challenges. ... We are not where we are without leadership. ... Because of that leadership, downtown Starkville is as healthy, is as vibrant as it’s ever been before and I believe that our brightest days are yet to come. This is a milestone for us,” Wiseman said.
“We have as talented a group of local leaders that care about the future of downtown Starkville as we have ever had before,” Wiseman said. “Pairing that leadership with the Mississippi Main Street program is going to lead to great things in this community.”
At the GSDP, “we represent the entirety of Oktibbeha County. ... So we do not want to be painted with the idea that we are simply a ... downtown organization because we want to see the center of activity of being the downtown area, we want to see it” grow, flourish and spread and be a “true economic driver for what we’ve got in Starkville, Mississippi,” GSDP President and CEO Jon Maynard said.
MMSA Executive Director Bob Wilson said: “... We really focus a lot on the downtown area because usually that’s where you need the most work in development. In Starkville... they’re a long ways along the way on that and very quickly this program is going to start to move out through this community.”
“I don’t think that there is a better time in Starkville’s history than right now to really make Main Street work for them,” Wilson said.
Joy Foy, director of asset development with the Mississippi Development Authority said: “I am so delighted for your Main Street participation. ... By being a Main Street community, you’re going to get recognition you’ve never gotten before. ... Main Street will just ratchet it up. It’s going to help you move forward at a much faster rate.”