Woodville joins Main Street Association

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

WOODVILLE &045;&045; Hoping to better coordinate public and private resources to revitalize its downtown area, the Town of Woodville Friday became the newest member of the Mississippi Main Street Association.

&uot;Belonging to the Main Street Association puts you in pretty good company.

Traveling in Mississippi, I haven’t found any Main Street communities that aren’t successful,&uot; MMSA Board President Phil Hardwick said.

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A non-profit organization that partners with the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, MMSA now claims 43 member communities.

Nationwide, the organization operates in 23 states and over 1,800 communities.

Seventy percent of MMSA funding comes from the MDA and the rest from private sources.

&uot;Our program in Mississippi is the only one in the country to total over $1 billion dollars in private investment.

When you see private investors putting their money where there mouth is, that’s pretty powerful,&uot; Hardwick said.

City officials accepted the formal designation from MMSA Executive Director Beverly Meng during an hour-long ceremony at the Wilkinson County Museum.

&uot;We will work with Woodville on special events, retail sales and design issues.

The bottom line is we hope to enhance their ability to make these improvements,&uot; Meng said.

Meng complimented Woodville’s historic Courthouse Square and touted the town’s potential for expanding its cultural tourism trade.

&uot;People love to see the real thing as opposed to Disneyland, and Woodville has done an excellent job of preserving its local history,&uot; Meng said.

MMSA has helped create over 2000 new businesses and 20,000 new jobs in Mississippi since its inception in 1988, Meng said.

&uot;We’re leveraging our dollars really well.

We’ve been nothing but good stewards of the money we use,&uot; Meng said.

Local officials were excited about the prospect of getting support from the MMSA.

Kenneth Cavin, president of the local MSA chapter, said the success of the Main Street Market &045;&045; an antiques and collectibles mall on the Courthouse Square &045;&045; proves Woodville and Wilkinson County have a lot to offer.

&uot;We were able to fill an empty building and hire seven employees locally.

And that business has brought in over $40,000 since it opened in November &045;&045; mostly from out-of-town,&uot; Cavin said.