Main Street Mississippi last week launched a fundraising effort to support a five-year plan to enhance Main Street projects and programs around the state.
Main Street is counting on businesses to step up as main contributors to the effort to raise $1.8 million over the next years. With that money, Main Street Mississippi plans to make allocations of $360,000 a year to support three key priorities: Local Main Street communities ($775,000), economic development ($700,000) and education and communications ($325,000).
Parkway Properties’ Leland Speed, interim head of the Mississippi Development Authority, is chairing the Campaign Leadership Council. The effort will be divided geographically into south, central and north.
Ed Day of Mississippi Power will lead the Council’s south campaign, Haley Fisackerly of Entergy Mississippi the central and Aubrey Patterson of BancorpSouth the north.
It’s a business-to-business effort, said Alon Bee, Regions Bank’s city president for metro Jackson and vice-chair of the Campaign Leadership Council’s South campaign. “It’s an effort where we are contacting businesses throughout Central Mississippi that have significant interest in preserving our Main Streets.”
Jobs accompany the revitalization within Main Streets, essentially a community’s central business district, Bee noted.
Another central co-chair, W. Arthur Stevens Jr., Trustmark’s Mississippi region president, said the effort will rely on a core of businesses and individuals who “are willing to invest in helping others and in helping our state move forward.”
Look for new jobs to come to central business districts around the state as new businesses come in and current ones expand, Stevens said in an email. “One of the major initiatives of this campaign is economic development by aiding the creation of new businesses and jobs
“I see this as a very crucial time for Mississippi’s central business district businesses.” The communities receiving the Main Street money will be expected to contribute shares of their own, organizers say.
Here are the goals the five-year effort has set for assisting Mississippi’s Main Streets:
>> Assist local Main Street communities in supporting local businesses
>> Work with local and state government to develop and promote tax credits and incentives for downtown development/redevelopment projects — both commercial and residential
>> Expand and enhance training for all MMSA managers and local boards
On the economic development front, the Main Street Mississippi goals for the five-year effort are:
>> Work with local Main Street programs, economic development agencies and local municipal governments to create 1,500 net new businesses, 7,500 net new jobs and 500 business expansions
>> MMSA will help rehab 750 building in downtown areas
>> MMSA will generate $1.7 billion in public/private reinvestments
For education, the effort will seek to “educate local, regional and state elected officials regarding the value” of Main Street Mississippi and to expand the program’s communications plan.
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