Downtown Natchez Alliance earns Main Street accreditation

Published 3:22 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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NATCHEZ – The Downtown Natchez Alliance (DNA) has been designated an Accredited Main Street America program based on efforts to revitalize downtown and provide economic development.

To quality for National Accreditation status—Main Street America’s top designation tier—communities must demonstrate a proven track record of achieving outcomes in alignment with the Main Street Approach, as represented in their local strategic work plans,  and exceptional performance in six areas: broad-based community commitment to revitalization; inclusive leadership and organizational capacity; diversified funding and sustainable program operations; strategy-driven programming; preservation-based economic development; and demonstrated impact and results.

Jo Ann Brumfield, president of the DNA Board of Directors, described “The Main Street Approach” as grassroots, volunteer-driven, preservation-based downtown revitalization programs. “DNA truly represents a collaboration between the city, the downtown community, and the Mississippi Main Street Association, which has provided valuable resources, both educational and financial, to Downtown Natchez,” she said.

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Recent examples include DNA’s recent Destination Downtown Real Estate Game Plan with Joe Borgstrom, which was a cooperative project organized by Mississippi Main Street which obtained a USDA grant and provided matching funding. Another Mississippi Main Street ARPA initiative is DNA’s Balcony, Awning, and Façade Incentive Grant program, set to kick off this summer. In addition, DNA, the city, and Mississippi Main Street are eagerly awaiting the final award of the state legislature’s Mississippi Main Street Revitalization Grant (MMSRG), which includes $362,000 to create the parkscape surrounding the Depot on the Natchez Bluff.

“We wake up every day with the goal of moving Downtown Natchez forward in sync with the city’s Natchez Renewal and the downtown community. We utilize the tried-and-true Main Street model, and we take our cues from the city’s Downtown Master Plan, the visions of our elected leaders, and the ongoing input of the downtown community and stakeholders,” Brumfield said.

Main Street leaders are visionaries working in collaboration with their local governments and communities to create the future world we all want to live in. The Main Street America standards provide a strong foundational framework for local programs to review progress, recognize strengths, understand trends, and identify strategies to move their downtowns forward.

“The size and impact of our network demonstrates that great things happen when visions are realized through strategic, grassroots collaboration,” said Main Street America President and CEO Erin Barnes.

Brumfield said DNA’s greatest need is also downtown’s greatest opportunity, and “that is the time and talent of volunteers. Planning is critical, but it’s people who revitalize places and make things happen.”

Studies have shown that a city’s downtown represents its smartest economic growth. On average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent in 2023 to support their operations, it generated $18.03 of new investment back into their downtown and commercial corridor communities. In 2023, the Main Street America programs generated $5.68 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 6,630 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 35,162 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,556 historic buildings, and leveraged 1,664,763 volunteer hours.

More information about the Downtown Natchez Alliance and volunteer opportunities is available on their website at