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Main Street Matters kicks off with development goal

Effort enlists business leaders to bring more industry and tourism to Main Street communities

The Mississippi Main Street Association has launched a five-year economic and community development program for the State of Mississippi dubbed “Main Street Matters.”

The initiative to underwrite the effort grew out of ideas and suggestions from nearly 100 business leaders over the past year. Main Street Matters will provide the association with additional funding for economic development and marketing for new business and industry as well as tourism in Mississippi’s 50 Main Street communities.

The statewide goal of Main Street Matters is $1.8 million over the next five years, organizers say.



Chairing the Campaign Leadership Council of Main Street Matters will be Leland Speed, chairman of the board of EastGroup and Parkway Properties. “Main Street Matters is a dynamic program that will meet the current and future needs of our state’s downtowns and provide much needed new jobs, capital investment and expanded payroll for those communities,” Speed said.

Main Street Matters will help position Mississippi to compete with other states for new business prospects.

Joining Speed are Aubrey Patterson, chairman and CEO of BancorpSouth, and Harry Walker, president of Trustmark. They have agreed to serve as campaign leaders in the Main Street Matters initiative and will be joined by other corporate and community leaders throughout the state calling on area business and industry to establish a unified effort for Mississippi’s Main Street program, organizers say.

The first of three campaigns is underway in the Central Region, which includes Jackson and the surrounding area.

BancorpSouth’s Randy Burchfield serves as president of the MMSA board of directors. “There is a compelling need for us to provide more resources to our downtown communities,” Burchfield said. “Mississippi’s downtowns provide a wonderful place to live and work. Main Street Matters will enable us to strengthen and enhance the Main Street programs across our state.”



By bringing “new business and industry prospects to our communities’ front doors,” said Burchfield, “we know we can sell them on moving to Mississippi.”

The Main Street Matters campaign will be implemented in the Jackson area over the next two months. Subsequent campaigns will be launched in the southern and northern regions of the state.


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