NMHNA, Main Street Partnership to Benefit Local Communities

March 22 – BLUE MOUNTAIN – The Mississippi Main Street Association and the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area are partnering with projects in the region this year, including four specific projects with local Main Street organizations in New Albany, Pontotoc, Itawamba County and Tupelo.

The first two projects involve New Albany and Pontotoc, two key communities on the Tanglefoot Trail, which will receive assistance for initiatives designed to improve their town centers, making them more attractive to residents and trail users.

—The New Albany Main Street Association will receive $20,000 to help develop a downtown master plan, which will include strategies for redevelopment of the community’s railroad and cultural districts, as well as an entrance corridor key to downtown, Carter Avenue.

The new plan will use the city’s comprehensive “New Albany NEXT” plan as a basis and will also include elements of New Albany Main Street’s recent “Envision Connect” plan, which was developed through a USDA grant received by the MMSA and partially funded by MHNHA.

The planning process will also incorporate aspects of two additional efforts currently underway: the Streetscape Improvement Plan for the Downtown Historic District and the proposed Little Tallahatchie Greenway Project.

“Developing a Downtown Master Plan that combines all of these components will provide a coordinated and concise guide for all projects and facilitate the implementation of each element,” said Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator. . “As the northern starting point of the Tanglefoot Trail, New Albany is a vital gateway for trail users, and improvements to its downtown will make this regional outdoor recreation asset an even better destination. attractive to visitors from all over the country.”

—The Pontotoc County Main Street Association will receive $20,000 to help create a “storytelling mural” featuring significant people and events from the community’s rich history. The mural will be located at the First Choice Bank Pavilion adjacent to the Tanglefoot Trail.

In addition to the mural, the project will also help develop better connectivity between the trail and historic downtown Pontotoc.

—Itawamba County is the most recently designated Mississippi Main Street program in the hill region, and its members are spread throughout the county. The three affected communities – Fulton, Tremont and Mantachie – will be visited by MMSA’s Roadmap Resource Team, which will provide each municipality with a strategic framework for downtown revitalization.

This roadmap will contain priority recommendations and specific implementation tactics for the next three to five years. MHNHA is providing $23,000 to help cover the expenses of the countywide resource team that will benefit all three cities.

—The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association will receive $5,000 to help develop its innovative Historic Walking Paths program, which will use QR codes to guide visitors to sites of historical significance throughout downtown and beyond .

“The MMSA and MHNHA are together investing a total of $68,000 in these four Main Street projects in the Hills area,” said Mary Cates Williams, MHNHA CEO. “We are proud to be able to work again this year with Mississippi Main Street on these strategic investments in our local communities,” Williams said.

Last year, the two organizations collaborated to develop strategic work plans for 22 certified Main Street communities in the hills. Each of the plans was specifically focused on COVID recovery and included an economic assessment developed by Dr. Rachael Carter with Mississippi State University Extension. Promotional videos were also created for each Main Street community by award-winning videographer Joe York.

MHNHA also awarded $63,735 in applications submitted by other Main Street regional programs through its 2022 Community Grants program for projects in Booneville, Holly Springs, Ripley, Saltillo and Water Valley, bringing funding total for Main Street communities in the Hills Region at $131,735. .

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