Historic Downtown District sign unveiled

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

DOWNTOWN PROUD: Elected officials, city employees and community members pose in front of the new sign. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

DOWNTOWN PROUD: Elected officials, city employees and community members pose in front of the new sign.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

The new sign heralding the Historic Downtown District was unveiled to the public at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The sign, the latest in the footprint expansion of the nostalgic theme for the downtown area, features 10 inch antebellum columns with the appropriate trims at the base and cap. The oval shaped sign is suspended between them. It is black and white with script text, and mounted to a 26-inch high concrete base. The sign will display the bronze dedication plaque with names of businesses and individuals who donated to purchase and install the sign.

The sign is the first project of the Façade and Signage Advisory Committee (FSAC ) which is chaired by Canon Jon Filkins.  Filkins was charged with the task to acquire funding for the sign. He began with a $2,500 goal in November of last year, but has so far obtained almost $5,000 in contributions, which will be reinvested in other community projects. Flowerbeds are being constructed throughout the area using repurposed wood from an area park.

Over the past year, nostalgic lighting and a bricked parking area has been installed in the downtown area through grants and a Rotary Clock and fountain were installed through donations.

“This has administration has done a great job of investing in the quality of life for the citizens of Picayune,” said Mayor Ed Pinero. “Focusing on our historical downtown district is going to make it easier to sell our beautiful city to visiting retailers and industrial business. A beautiful downtown area makes a better first impression and shows visitors how much we care.”

Councilwoman Tammy Valente is pleased with the progress of city’s beautification efforts.

“In my opinion the whole thing we want to accomplish is to make people fall back in love with the city,” Valente said. “We want to beautify and make people proud, if they love it they want to stay or return and reinvest. When we love something, we cherish it, we protect it and we do extraordinary things for it.

“I think we are definitely headed in the right direction. A lot has been achieved through donation and creative thinking and not coming out of the taxpayer’s money. “

The recent improvements have been made through creative thinking, repurposing of materials and the sale of scrap metal by City Manager Jim Luke and Public Works Director Eric Morris.

Councilwoman Jan Miller Stevens said that the city is “definitely on the right track. The heart of any city is their downtown area, if you don’t keep it clean and attract business, the city is will suffer economically.”