Laurel Main Street Recognized at Mississippi Main Street Annual Awards

Laurel Main Street was recently honored for Outstanding Creative Placemaking at the Mississippi Main Street Association’s annual awards. Leontyne Price musical park was a collaboration among multiple businesses and community organizations.

Laurel loves Leontyne Price. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s (LRMA) year-long celebration of the beloved opera singer and Laurelite’s 90th birthday proves that, along with Laurel’s new musical park. Leontyne Price Park represents the collaboration of almost a dozen different entities including the City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street, LRMA, the Price family, Laurel Machine and Foundry (LMF), Sonny & Cille Screen Printing, The Knight Butcher, and Central Creativity.

The “Treble Makers,” a Leadership Jones County team, raised over $15,000 to fund the project and worked hard to reach out to the community for both input and arts education. The park was built to enable people of all ages—but especially formative youth—to experience the enrichment that music can provide through both sheer enjoyment and gaining an understanding of musical concepts. The many students who come to the park to play and learn will be inspired by Laurel’s most famous daughter.

What is Creative Placemaking?

This award recognizes a creative placemaking endeavor that involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners who have deliberately integrated arts and culture into community revitalization work. The placemaking project should show how it enhances quality of life for existing residents, increases creative activity, and creates a distinct sense of place.

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual awards presentation this year. MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.” Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards.

MISSISSIPPI MAIN STREET ANNOUNCES 2020 AWARD WINNERS

JACKSON, Miss. (August 19, 2020) – The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual Annual Awards presentation this year.

MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.”

Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards.

Laurel Main Street was honored with an award for Outstanding Creative Placemaking for the Leontyne Price Musical Park.
​​This award recognizes a creative placemaking endeavor that involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners who have deliberately integrated arts and culture into community revitalization work. The placemaking project shows how it enhances quality of life for existing residents, increases creative activity, and creates a distinct sense of place.

In addition to announcing the 2020 award winners, all Main Street member communities were recognized as well as MMSA annual investors and MMSA board members for 2020-2021.

In addition, the 2020 nationally accredited programs were recognized, as well as new MMSA communities, and Main Street directors who have served for 10 years or longer in their communities.

The Mississippi Development Authority, Entergy Mississippi, and Mississippi Power were recognized as top investors of MMSA and sponsors of the annual awards.

In 2019, Mississippi Main Street’s Designated Communities generated 185 net new businesses, 62 business expansions to existing businesses, 633 net new jobs, 101 building rehabilitations and 331 downtown residential units. In addition, 178 public improvement projects were completed as well as 36 new construction projects in downtown business districts. More than $148 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2019, and more than 43,211 volunteer hours 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 $5.5 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.3 billion in public investment).

MMSA currently has 45 Designated Main Street Community members, four Network members, and eight Associate members.

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Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) is a catalyst for the preservation and economic revitalization of Mississippi’s historic downtowns and districts. As a Main Street AmericaTM Coordinating Program, MMSA helps lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of more than 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

For individual project photos and awards narratives, please email jeannie@msmainstreet.com. For more information about MMSA, visit www.msmainstreet.com.

Laurel Main Street Director Announces Retirement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAUREL MAIN STREET DIRECTOR ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Board Begins Search for Replacement

[LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI, July 30, 2020] Laurel Main Street (LMS) announced that the organization’s executive director, Judi Holifield, will retire at the end of this year. Judi Holifield, who oversaw many beloved city events including the Loblolly Festival, Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook-off, Touch a Truck, Farmers Market and more during her tenure, joined LMS in the fall of 2011.

“Nobody has cared more about the mission of this organization, worked harder despite challenges or advocated more passionately on behalf of LMS than Judi,” said Truitt Taylor, president of Laurel Main Street. “She successfully managed the organization through a period of significant growth and set us on a great path programmatically.”

While Holifield was executive director, LMS received several Mississippi Main Street awards including Outstanding Community Transformation for a mid-sized town and she was named Outstanding Main Street Director in 2019.

“Working together with the membership and board at Laurel Main Street has been a highly rewarding experience and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Holifield. “I look forward to the next chapter of my life and the opportunities to take time for myself and my family, while continuing to support LMS and its endeavors as a volunteer.”

The LMS board is conducting a search for a successor as executive director.

For more information on the executive director position, please visit www.laurelmainstreet.com.

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The Main Street program executive director coordinates activities within a downtown or commercial district revitalization program that utilizes historic preservation as an integral foundation for downtown economic development.  He/she is responsible for the development, conduct, execution and documentation of the Main Street program.  The program director is the principal on-site staff person responsible for coordinating all program activities and volunteers.  This includes management and attendance of all Laurel Main Street festivals and events, many of which are held on weekends or evenings.  He/she should represent the community regionally and nationally as appropriate.  In addition, the program director should help guide the organization as its objectives evolve.

 

If interested please submit resume and cover letter to:

 

Truitt Taylor

President – Laurel Main Street Board of Directors

trtaylor@crcgroup.com

 

Deadline for applications is August 7, 2020.

Laurel Main Street Receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation

 

For Immediate Release                                             Contact:       Judi Holifield, Executive Director

Laurel Main Street                                                                              601-433-3255

                                                                                                                    info@laurelmainstreet.com

 

Laurel Main Street Receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation

Laurel, MS (June 30, 2020) Laurel Main Street has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program.  Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™. 

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new were jobs created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.

Laurel Main Street’s performance is evaluated by Mississippi Main Street, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

 

Since 2007, Laurel has seen over $40 million in private re-investments in downtown, which contribute to the renovation and rehabilitation of downtown properties. Laurel Main Street has facilitated 19 façade improvement grants, totaling over $47,ooo dollars in the past 24 months. Without the support of our partners, members, volunteers, and community, this work would not be possible.

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ABOUT LAUREL MAIN STREET

THE PURPOSE OF Laurel Main Street is to establish a vibrant commercial district in and around Downtown Laurel, enhance our community and heritage, foster a center of activity and ensure economic stability for the heart of Laurel, Mississippi through concentrated efforts of design, promotion, organization and economic revitalization.

ABOUT MAIN STREET AMERICA

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85.43 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Meet the Judges for the 2020 Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off

The annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off will take place on Central Avenue in beautiful downtown Laurel on Saturday, February 8, 2020. Teams from across the state will compete to win the chili trophy. The job of judging all that deliciousness can’t be easy, but we’ve rounded up a team of tasters who are up to the task!

Meet the Judges

Joe BerlinJoe Berlin is a 23 year veteran of law enforcement. Before being elected as Sheriff of Jones County, Berlin was a Sergeant in the Laurel Police Department. Sheriff Berlin is married and has two daughters. He loves fishing, spending time with his family, and serving the citizens of Laurel and Jones county.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Bowman is the WDAM 7 Sunrise morning anchor. The Texas native is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. During her years as a Golden Eagle she honed her skills interning in the newsroom at ABC’s World News Tonight in New York.

She started her reporting career on the Mississippi Gulf Coast before moving to Jackson, and eventually joining WDAM as an anchor and reporter.

She is an Associated Press award-winning reporter and has covered hurricanes, oil spills, state corruption trials, high profile homicide investigations and other extraordinary feature stories.

 

Akeem Davis is a former American football safety that played in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Memphis, and signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Davis has also been a member of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

He is currently the cornerbacks coach for the University of Southern Mississippi. Davis is married to his high school Sweetheart, Sierra Sky Davis and they are parents to daughter Carsyn, and son, Corinthian Akeem Davis II.

Davis is also the founder of the AD47 Football Leadership Academy. The AD47 Football Leadership Academy is a free, one-day, football skills camp, dedicated to promoting leadership, citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. AD47 is sanctioned and insured by the NFL Foundation and run in partnership with USA Football through the FUNdamentals program. The inaugural AD47 was held in Laurel, MS in June 2015, and featured 53 school children, ages 8–12 from across the Laurel area.

Angela Tarrant is the Executive Producer and Showrunner for HGTV’s Home Town, set in beautiful Laurel, MS.  She has been working on the show since helping produce the pilot episode in 2015.

Angela has directed and produced several pilots and sizzle reels for HGTV, including The HousleysHome Stretch, Make Me Rich and Rough Housing.

Before starting a career in home renovation television, Angela spent 15 years working on national news programs in New York and Washington, DC. They include On the Record with Greta Van Susteren at Fox News, The Abrams Report and Scarborough Country on MSNBC and Burden of Proof and American Morning on CNN.

Angela was born in Marietta, Georgia and received her B.A. in journalism and political science from DePauw University. 

 

Originally from Meridian, MS, Andy Webb is an On-Air Radio Personality who’s entertained & informed listeners from Mississippi to South Carolina (and back again) for 25 years. Andy won the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters’ “Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years (2006-2010), and has been featured on numerous formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC. You can now hear him weekday mornings from 6am-10am on B95’s “Breakfast Club.” Andy currently resides in Hattiesburg with his wife, Emma, and his daughter, Isabel.

 

 

Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!

Events like the Chili Cook Off just wouldn’t be possible without the support and backing of local businesses. These sponsorships help pay for the prizes, supplies and more! Their donations also help fund the Laurel Main Street Façade & Amenities grant and are directly responsible for the improvements you see in downtown Laurel.

Our Signature Sponsor

The Chili Cook Off’s signature sponsor is Magnolia State Bank. We are so thankful for the financial support and helping hands they provide every year to make this event a successful one.

Hot Sponsors

The City of Laurel

Jones County Chamber of Commerce

Jones County

Sanderson Farms

Spicy Sponsors

Carl & Mandy BuchananCommunity BankMississippi PowerB Clean LLC, Mike Axton and Southern Beverage Company

Our Producers

Event producers provide in-kind support of the event by providing products, services or advertising to make the event a reality. Thank you to WBBN B95 Country, Supertalk Radio, WDAM, and Studio5Fifty for helping to promote and organize the event.