‘Stars’ walk fading for Bay St. Louis

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bay St. Louis officials have delayed approving a proposed local Walk of Fame after the attorney general’s office raise some concerns.

City Attorney Donald Rafferty told city council members this past week that questions were raised about the city giving a single organization exclusive sales rights to a product and about using city property — the sidewalks — for financial gain.

The Sea Coast Echo reports that the Walk of Fame was suggested by Chet LeBlanc, who said the program would be a way to fund activities of the city’s Historical Preservation Commission.

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Under the program, stars could be purchased to commemorate Mississippians who have distinguished themselves on the local, regional, or national levels. The stars would be sold in various sizes for $1,000 and up, LeBlanc said.

The stars would be and placed on city sidewalks, and the program would be self-supporting.

LeBlanc said the program would be run by a newly formed Heritage Trust Committee, which in turn would operate as a nonprofit organization through the Hancock County Community Development Foundation.

“In essence, what you’re doing is giving a franchise to this Heritage Trust,” Rafferty told the city council. “That’s why they asked us to go slow.”

Proponents said the program was inspired by a sidewalk brick program that has been successful in Fairhope, Ala. There, families can buy bricks inscribed with their names, and the bricks are placed on downtown sidewalks. Many have been inscribed with the names of pioneer Fairhope families and community leaders.