Five communities in Northeast Mississippi were among those recognized at Thursday’s Mississippi Main Street Association’s 30th Annual Awards Luncheon in downtown Jackson.

The annual awards luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“The MMSA is honored to celebrate Mississippi’s downtown communities,” said Kevin Stafford, MMSA board president. “Our local leaders, partners, and investors are to be admired and commended for their vision and drive to reinvent, rehabilitate, grow, and diversify the downtown experience, all while preserving its historical legacy.”

• West Point Main Street was awarded the Outstanding Creative Fundraiser for its “Dogs Playing Poker” fundraiser

• Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association won Outstanding Public Improvement Project for its alley project. In addition, Merchant of the Year went to Bev Crossen of FarmHouse.

• Aberdeen Main Street won a Main Street Heroes award with Sara Gardner's contributions to the community.

• Ripley Main Street won one of the Main Street Heros Award, nabbing the Leadership in Servanthood title.

“I am inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit and impressed by the economic opportunities provided to our communities,” Stafford said of all the award winners.

The Mississippi Development Authority, LPK Architects, neonFROG, and Renovations of Mississippi sponsored the luncheon.

Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.2 billion in public investment), as every dollar spent in the organization results in $80 of private investment, the highest return on investment of any economic activity in the state.

In 2018, Mississippi Main Street Communities generated 247 net new businesses, 68 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,225 net new jobs, 84 façade rehabilitations, 309 downtown residential units, 29 new construction projects and 56 public improvement projects were completed as well as 45,267 volunteer hours.

MMSA currently has 53 active Main Street programs that include 47 Main Street communities and six downtown network members.

Twitter: @dennisseid

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