Batesville’s Main Street Program recently won first place in the Outstanding New Small Event, an award that recognizes the downtown organization that has created a new, high-quality event that has generated foot traffic for the downtown with under 1,000 in attendance.Main Street Music, a series of Thursday night concerts on the Downtown Square last fall was a community success enjoyed by hundreds from Panola County and the trade area.The concerts were about two hours and featured area solo acts and bands.Main Street director Mamie Avery accepted the award at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Main Street Association. Part of the description of the events read as follows:There’s a feeling in the air as the sun sets and string lights begin to twinkle on the Batesville Square. Every Thursday, throughout the month of October, townies gather for the Main Street Music fall concertseries. What began as a “bring your lawn chair” event evolved into much more.Weekly community sponsors set up promotional tents and introduced the bands. From an animal-themed “Wild about Main Street” night to the crescendo of an 80’s rock show, the crowd grew from several hundred to approximately 1000 people. Downtown businesses set up tents to accommodate overflowing crowds as dinner reservations were so robust. Bubble machines blew, couples danced, children drew with sidewalk chalk, and neighbors shared everything from custom cookies to boudin.
After an isolating spring, the event brought young and old together to safely fellowship, making 2020 a great time to “Be Square.”The concert series will be offered by Main Street again this fall. Details of the dates and performers will be published when available.“After a year without face-to-face meetings, we are excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities again in person,” said Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator. “As difficult as 2020 was for our communities, we still saw economic growth in our downtowns and resiliency from the small businesses in our downtown districts.” page1image3788576.png ¬The annual awards luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects and events from Main Street communities in Mississippi. “Our local Main Street directors have worked tirelessly to provide services to small businesses and create innovative ways to connect people together during the pandemic, and we are proud to celebrate their successes at our annual awards,” Gregory said.In 2020, Mississippi Main Street’s Designated Communities generated 191 net new businesses, 52 business expansions to existing businesses, 584 net new jobs, 74 building rehabilitations and 746 downtown residential units. In addition, 75 public improvement projects were completed as well as 26 new construction projects in downtown business districts. More than $227 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2020, and more than 22,185 volunteerhours were recorded. Every dollar spent in this organization results in $80 of private investment, the highest return on investment of any economic activity in the state. Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5.8 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.5 billion in public investment).
MMSA currently has 47 Designated Main Street Communities, four Network members, and 11 Associate members.
cutline: Mississippi Main Street Association state coordinator Thomas Gregory presented Mamie Avery, Batesville’s Main Street director with an award for the 2020 fall concert series on the Square. (Contributed)Main Street wins 1st place for fall concert series