Main Street conference

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last week Picayune Main Street Director Reba Beebe attended the annual event, Destination Downtown, a tri-state conference with Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi Main Street programs.
The event was held in Ocean Springs at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center.
The three-day conference had 14 speakers from all over the United States, Beebe said. Participants were allowed to choose from the many welcoming events, tours, sessions and topics offered to educate Main Street participants on how to enhance their historic downtown locations.
Beebe said Arkansas author Ron Drake was named Main Street Hero in 2014 by Main Street Arkansas. He spoke about his book “Flip this Town-Preservation Made Practical on Main Street USA.”
“Ron has proven in many Arkansas towns that residential housing is the key to re-inventing downtown areas,” Beebe said. “He has successfully designed buildings all over Arkansas with upper floor housing, lofts and apartments.”
Another keynote speaker was interior design consultant Susan Shaddox, who is works with Arkansas Main Street, Beebe said. Shaddox had suggestions for window displays in both open and closed businesses.
Beebe said Shaddox encourages business owners to keep their entrances inviting and alive. She also suggests business owners ensure their windows attract a lot of attention by creating themes, utilizing lighting and keeping windows and doors clean.
“What is ideal about Destination Downtown is that you get hands-on experience and the opportunity to find that one great idea for your community,” Executive Director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce Main Street Tourism Bureau Margaret Miller said in a Mississippi Main Street press release. “It could happen in the classroom, from whom you sit next to, or when you explore beautiful Ocean Springs.”
Beebe said she wants to encourage citizens and business owners in the Picayune community to become more involved with community events. The group welcomes new and exciting ideas for events that will bring more life to the downtown area.
“Picayune’s biggest asset is our people,” Beebe said. “We have an enormous amount of talent our area. I would like to see more events that give opportunities to share these talents with not just Picayune but the entire state of Mississippi.”
Beebe said planning events involves an enormous amount of planning and volunteers who assist with organizing and constructing events. Main Street is always in need of volunteers to maintain a safe environment during events.
To learn more about Picayune Main Street and volunteering opportunities, contact Beebe at 601-799-3070.

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