Our History

"The Main Street Program is one of the best investments made in the City of Vicksburg.  It has been the difference between vitality and decay in our downtown district."

- Robert M. Walker, Mayor of the City of Vicksburg

1988, 1989-1993, 1997-2001 

The History of Vicksburg's Main Street Program 

Main Streets are Vital to the Future

Thirty or forty years ago, downtown retailers didn't have much competition.  Shopping malls had not made their mark on retailing and mail offers were limited primarily to a few big national companies.  When competition did emerge, downtowns were not organized to fight back. 

Initially, many communities considered their downtown area's mounting problems to be the sole responsibility of the retailers.  Somehow, almost everyone overlooked the importance of the downtown itself as a major factor in the local economy. 

Vicksburg... An Original Main Street

In 1983, the City of Vicksburg, The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and the Vicksburg Foundation for Historical Preservation put together the application for the first round of Main Street town selection.  In 1984, Vicksburg was chosen as one of the original six Mississippi Main Street towns.  The mayor and alderman selected the initial Main Street Board and hired a full-time manager to administer the program, establishing a public/private partnership that is still in place. 

The City of Vicksburg continues to provide financial support, in-kind services, and valuable technical assistance. 

How the Main Street Program is Funded

How the Main Street Program is Funded

Initial funding of the program was from the city and membership dues from the merchants and financial institutions. In 1986, the property owners showed their support of the program by asking the city to establish a special taxing district, thereby imposing an extra tax upon themselves to put main Street on sound financial ground. 
Main Street is governed by a 13 member volunteer board, elected by members and property owners.  They employ a full-time director and assistant director.  The office is located at 1010 Levee Street.

The four-part Main Street Plan is designed to work with all of the district's opportunities and problems. Volunteers make up the committees that work with these specific areas:

Design means getting downtown into to 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.

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 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.

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.