Main Street getting funding from new BP partnership

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) has formed a new partnership with BP America across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With funding from BP, MMSA will work in the existing Main Street communities on the Coast and also bring in two new communities to the Main Street program.

The seven existing Gulf Coast Main Street programs include Pascagoula, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay Saint Louis and Waveland. The new communities that will join the Main Street program are Pass Christian and Long Beach. Both communities will receive a three-day MMSA Resource Team visit.

Heidi Grether, general manager, Mississippi, BP America, said, “Our hope is that the Main Street program will continue to provide the pathway to sustainable economic development throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Bob Wilson, MMSA executive director, said, “We are looking forward to seeing tangible results from BP’s investment and Main Street’s work in revitalizing these historic downtown districts.”

The first project under the BP funding program will be a four-day Economic Development Resource Team, which will take place Oct. 10-13 in Moss Point. The MMSA Resource Team will be an expansion of the traditional resource team that works in all new Main Street communities. The team will develop a strategic, long-term program that includes planning, development, branding and marketing, funding resources, capacity building, training and retail consulting specific to the revitalization of the downtown historic district.

In addition to BP America, the Foundation for the Mid South will help fund the Resource Team in Moss Point.

MMSA will also be working directly with independent business owners through the “Shop Mississippi Gulf Coast Main Streets” retail consulting campaign.

Retail counseling and marketing consulting will be conducted in individual retail stores as well as through each local Main Street program. This program will take place over six months, and the consultations will seek to strengthen businesses by helping owners create long-term business and marketing plans. “At risk” businesses will be specifically targeted to receive services first.

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