Mississippi communities named to national Main Street list

Published 6:15 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

The following Main Street communities in Mississippi have been designated as Accredited Main Street America™ programs for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) announce the list of Accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.

The 2023 Accredited Main Street Communities in Mississippi include:

Amory, Baldwyn, Batesville, Biloxi, Booneville, Byhalia, Cleveland, Clinton, Columbus, Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Holly Springs, Kosciusko, Laurel, Leake County, Louisville, Nettleton, New Albany, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Pearl, Philadelphia, Picayune, Pontotoc County, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia, Starkville, Sumrall, Tunica, Tupelo, Vicksburg, Water Valley, West Point, and Woodville.

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“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” said Hannah White, Interim President & CEO of Main Street America. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions.”

In 2022, Main Street America programs generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 7,657 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 29,174 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,688 historic buildings, and leveraged 1,528,535 volunteer hours.

On average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent to support their operations, it generated $24.07 of new investment back into their downtown communities.

Collectively, 2 million people live or work within the boundaries of designated Main Street America districts. An estimated workforce of 1.1 million people contribute their skills and expertise to advancing the missions of these historic downtowns and commercial corridors.

“Receiving National Main Street Accreditation is a prestigious designation and we congratulate each of these communities in Mississippi for this significant achievement,” said Michelle Jones, MMSA Board President. “Main Street programs play a strategic role in making Mississippi more competitive by being a catalyst for economic development.”

In addition, several Mississippi communities were recognized among the Main Street America Affiliate programs in recognition of their commitment to creating meaningful improvements in downtowns and commercial districts across the country using the Main Street Approach™, including Aberdeen, Columbia, Corinth, Crystal Springs, Indianola, Itawamba County, Gulfport, Meridian, Moss Point, Natchez, and Okolona.

The MMSA staff evaluate each local Main Street organization’s performance annually and work in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards.

To quality for Accreditation status, communities must meet a set of rigorous standards that include commitments to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.

In 2022, Mississippi Main Street’s Designated communities generated 495 new businesses, 56 business expansions to existing businesses, 841 new jobs, 183 building rehabilitations, and 1,817 downtown living spaces. In addition, 79 public improvement projects were completed as well as 24 new construction projects in historic downtown business districts. More than $242 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2022, and more than 42,255 volunteer hours were recorded.

MMSA currently has 48 Designated Main Street communities, one Network community, and 25 Associate members.

“MMSA evaluates each of our local Main Street program’s performance annually, and we work in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that are committed to comprehensive revitalization and achieving meaningful community outcomes,” said Thomas Gregory, MMSA Executive Director. “We congratulate all of our nationally accredited and affiliate programs and remain committed to assisting every community to achieve the highest recognition.”