Vicksburg Main Street Programs FAQ's

Last Updated 2/26/2024


What is the Vicksburg Main Street Program?

Established in 1984, Vicksburg Main Street is a not-for-profit public/private partnership working within Vicksburg’s historic downtown area to develop a sustainable and comprehensive program to revitalize our downtown economy and preserve its character. The Vicksburg Main Street Program is an active member of the Mississippi Main Street Association and has been designated as accredited as a National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Trust Main Street Center.

Why is it called “Main Street” ?

From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, thousands of downtowns fell by the wayside. Empty stores, boarded up buildings and deteriorating structures lined the streets that were once the social and commercial centers of American life. “Main Street,” as they knew it, was gone and so was their sense of community. Nationwide, efforts to take back main Street were put in motion, but there was a desperate need for expertise and support. The need was soon filled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). The NTHP established the National Main Street Center in 1980 to provide support and to encourage the revitalization of downtown based on historic preservation and sound business practices. To date, all 50 states and over2,800 communities participate in the Main Street Program. What began as a historic preservation program has evolved into one of the largest economic development programs in the United States. Main Street is the state’s most effective economic development tool now operating in Mississippi.

What is the mission of Vicksburg Main Street?

Our mission is to create a program that will encourage and promote the economic growth and development of downtown Vicksburg through planning, beautification, and preservation of our central business district in order to build a competitive local and regional business market and support our growing city tourism industry.

Why is the city's historic downtown important?

Downtown is the heart and soul of our city. As the heart goes, so does all of Vicksburg. Our downtown tells us who we are, who we were, and how the past has shaped us. Downtown is the place of shared memory where people still come together to live, work and play. More specifically, downtown Vicksburg represents one of the largest concentrations of businesses in the city and is a prominent employment center. It is also the governmental and financial center of Vicksburg. The downtown area contains the largest concentration of architecturally and historically important structures in the city, and is a major tourist attraction. Our historic downtown is an important indicator of how we see our city and how others see us!

What does the Vicksburg Main Street Program do?

In short, the Vicksburg Main Street Program undertakes a wide range of programs and projects such as festivals, parades, retail promotions, education, networking events, and infrastructure enhancement designed to revitalize and maintain a vibrant and attractive downtown by encouraging people to come shop, work, visit, invest and live in downtown. The longer answer is that the Vicksburg Main Street Program takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the issues of downtown by adopting the National Main Street Programs comprehensive Four-Point Approach which includes the areas of:

Organization:

The Main Street Program works to establish consensus and cooperation by building partnerships among the various groups that have a stake in the downtown commercial district. By getting everyone working toward the same goal, the Main Street Program can provide effective, ongoing management and advocacy for downtown Vicksburg.

Promotion:

Promotion takes many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in downtown Vicksburg. Advertising, retail promotions, special events, and marketing campaigns help sell a vital downtown to the community and surrounding region. Promotions communicate the downtown area's unique characteristics, business establishments, and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business and property owners, and visitors.

Design:

Design means getting downtown Vicksburg into physical shape and creating a safe, inviting environment. An appealing atmosphere, created through attention to all of the visual elements such as public and private buildings, storefronts, signs, public spaces, parking areas, street furniture, landscaping, and window displays, conveys a positive message about downtown and what it has to offer. Design activities also include instilling good maintenance practices, enhancing the downtown's physical appearance through the rehabilitation of historic buildings, encouraging appropriate new construction, educating business and property owners about design quality, and long-term planning.

Economic Reconstruction:

Economic restructuring is accomplished by retaining and expanding successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix, sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of business owners, and attracting new businesses that the market can support.

Who funds the Vicksburg Main Street Program?

The program is funded by a dedicated tax upon business real property within the Main Street Taxing District, by the City of Vicksburg, membership dues, private sector sponsors, grants, and self-generated funds from program activities.

What are the boundaries of the Vicksburg Main Street Area?

Roughly, Vicksburg's historic downtown can be described as within the area bounded on the north by First East Street, on the east by Cherry and Adams Streets, on the south by Bridge & Depot Streets, and on the west by Pearl Street and the Yazoo River Diversion Canal. A map of the actual boundaries of the Vicksburg Main Street area can be found at www.vicksburgmainstreet.com.

Who does the work of the Vicksburg Main Street Program?

A governing board of directors and four standing committees make up the fundamental organizational structure of the volunteer-driven revitalization program. The board of directors is elected by dues-paying members and the owners of commercial real property within the Main Street Taxing District. Volunteers are coordinated and supported by a paid program director. This structure not only divides the workload and clearly delineates responsibilities, but also builds consensus and cooperation among the various stakeholders.

How can I help/participate in the Program?

There are many different ways we can help the heart of our city to grow and prosper. If you live in the community, frequent the many professionals and businesses that call downtown home, come to the wide variety of downtown events such as the Christmas Parade, Mardi Gras Parade, Bricks & Spokes, and Hit the Bricks, just to name a few. Volunteer to serve on a Main Street committee to help make these events and other programs, such as the Farmer's Market and Loft Tours successful.

If you are a business or property owner or residential dweller downtown, ensure that your property is well kept and attractive and help our downtown area "dress up" for special occasions, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mardi Gras, Halloween, and special events such as the Miss Mississippi Pageant and parade and Nurses Night Out. Take advantage of the retail education programs and workshops offered by Main Street, participate in the cooperative advertising efforts of the program, and be a part of helping to keep our downtown safe for merchants, professionals, residents, shoppers, and visitors by being a part of "Downtown Alert", a telephone calling Circle designed to alert businesses to unusual activity in the area.

If you are a visitor, take time to shop in our wide variety of retail and specialty stores and visit some of our many downtown attractions. Check with our website to see what events, programs and festivities are scheduled during your stay with us. If you find your visit enjoyable, please share your experiences with friends, family and associates and with us by letting the staff and directors know what you liked about the Main Street area and what you feel needs improvement by emailing us here.

“No single focus (lavish public improvements, name-brand business recruitment, or endless promotional events) can revitalize Main Street. For successful, sustainable, long-term revitalization, a comprehensive approach, including activity in each of Main Street’s Four Points, is essential.” The National Trust Main Street Center

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