Main Street project gets Wesson note

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

WESSON — Residents and officials here entertained ideas Tuesdaynight about sprucing up the downtown area with the help of anorganization that has assisted many small towns with similarprojects.

Although no decisions were made during the monthly boardmeeting, the mayor, board of alderman and about 25 curious citizenslistened intensely to Beverly Meng, executive director of theMississippi Main Street Association, a private non-profitgroup.

She explained the numerous benefits the town would acquire bygetting involved in the small towns program, a division of the mainstreet association.

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“It really does not focus just on the downtown, it iscommunity-wide,” said Meng.

Meng talked of two options the town could take to receiveassistance from Mississippi Main Street Association.

The first would be a membership, costing $150, that wouldprovide the town with a one day assessment of the area. The secondoption would provide more services, but would be moreexpensive.

Wesson could become involved in the small towns programcompletely for a $5,000 fee the first year, $4,000 the second year,$3,000 the third year and $2,000 each following year.

Those fees would cover between $150,000-$200,000 worth ofyear-round guidance and suggestions for improvement from theMississippi Main Street Association, which would form a partnershipwith residents and officials.

“This is a real self-help program,” explained Meng. “What youwant is for the vision of Wesson to be what the communitywants.”

Representative from the association would perform an assessmentof the town, then help those involved figure out how to accomplishtheir goals. They would also work with town residents and officialsin making economic decisions about the town.

Existing businesses could be expanded and new businesses couldbe brought in with the help of the organization, said Meng.

She mentioned how industry leaders in the state have pointed outthat downtown areas often influence their decisions on whether tolocate in a town, because the downtown district reflects thequality of life in the town.

Mississippi Main Street Association is able to reach morepotential business because of its partnership with the MississippiDevelopment Authority, formerly the Mississippi EconomicDevelopment Council.

During her tour of Wesson Tuesday, Meng noticed the manyattractions the town has to offer businesses and retirees.

She mentioned the community college, access to a metropolitanarea and historic preservation, such as the old Wesson School.

When Meng finished her presentation, she was reward with a roundof applause.

Her presentation was followed by a good report on the fiscalyear audit performed by Charles Hart. He showed board members hisfinding during the last few months when he reviewed the town’sfinancial matters.

“I feel like the receipts and disbursements do represent fairlyyour actions,” he said.

Mayor David McGee was proud that the town was in the black forthe second year in a row.

The next speaker on the agenda for the meeting was Bob McCreary,of Keep Copiah County Beautiful, who announced plans for twoclean-up days in Wesson. The first will be next Saturday, March 17,and the second will be a county-wide clean-up day on April 7.

He was grateful for the success of last year’s clean-up day andhoped to experience the same this year.

“We do appreciate the efforts of everyone,” said McCreary.

During the two designated days, the town will supply a largegarbage container in front of town hall for residents to put anytype of trash they want to in for disposal.

McGee pointed out that a front-end loader would also be run bytown employees for items hard to handle.

“I’ll have the city employees here and if anybody within thecity limits has trouble picking something up, we’ll be happy tosend the front end loader there way to help,” he said.

In other matters, McGee reported that the town’s new storagebuilding for the water and street departments was completed. Healso updated board members on the results of the heavy downpour inthe area last week.

“We had one major washout, and that was on Factory Street,” hesaid, adding that county crews had been notified about it.

The meeting was concluded by a few comments from Jeff Knight, atown resident who has been involved in the improvement project onthe little league and softball fields. Knight complimented theboard for their cooperation in the project. He also mentioned thetremendous amount of community support in the form of labor anddonations.

“It’s been an outpour of volunteers,” said Knight.

The next town board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., April 3, attown hall. The meeting will be open to the public.