Through our Senatobia Main Street organization, the Tate County Economic Development Foundation provides leadership and assistance for business development and community development projects concentrated in the historic downtown district of Senatobia. We encourage our citizens to buy local and keep dollars here at home, and we want to attract others to experience the highest level of quality of life in the traditional heart of our county seat.
Senatobia Main Street invites you to join us as we have reorganized our board of directors and program of work. We believe it is essential to concentrate on redeveloping our historic downtown district, the heart and soul of our city and county. We have a long way to go but a lot to be excited about.
In 2012, the City of Senatobia applied for and was accepted as a Certified Local Government (CLG) by the National Park Service through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. This significant designation will aid our Main Street program in partnering with the local historic preservation commission to oversee the integrity of our historic district and rehabilitation projects. Historic preservation is foundational to downtown revitalization, and Senatobia Main Street will serve as a partner of the local preservation commission and supporter of downtown property owners and businesses.
In 2013, the Tate County Economic Development Foundation formed a committee within the EDF Board to oversee several programs of work, including Main Street. The EDF is committed to supporting and aiding the Main Street program to refocus on developing downtown Senatobia by working with the Mississippi Main Street Association and all Senatobia Main Street stakeholders. We are treating this program essentially as a “new” Main Street program in order to reorganize and grow the program to become more efficient and sustainable.
The Main Street committee structure uses a Four Point Approach®:
Organization (Steers the direction of Downtown)
Promotion (Marketing campaign for the program and special Downtown events)
Design (Capitalizing on existing assets and getting Downtown in top shape)
Economic Restructuring (Business Development, the bottom line of Downtown)
Success is guided by the following eight principles, which set the Main Street methodology apart from other redevelopment strategies. For a Main Street program to be successful, it must whole-heartedly embrace the following time-tested Eight Principles of Main Street:
Comprehensive: 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.
Incremental: Baby steps come before walking. Successful revitalization programs begin with basic, simple activities that demonstrate that "new things are happening" in the commercial district. As public confidence in the Main Street district grows and participants' understanding of the revitalization process becomes more sophisticated, Main Street is able to tackle increasingly complex problems and more ambitious projects. This incremental change leads to much longer-lasting and dramatic positive change in the Main Street area.
Self-help: No one else will save your Main Street. Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources and talent. That means convincing residents and business owners of the rewards they'll reap by investing time and money in downtown — the heart of their community. Only local leadership can produce long-term success by fostering and demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
Partnerships: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the district and must work together to achieve common goals of Main Street's revitalization. Each sector has a role to play and each must understand the other's strengths and limitations in order to forge an effective partnership.
Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets: Business districts must capitalize on the assets that make them unique. Every district has unique qualities like distinctive buildings and human scale that give people a sense of belonging. These local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.
Quality: Emphasize quality in every aspect of the revitalization program. This applies to all elements of the process — from storefront designs to promotional campaigns to educational programs. Shoestring budgets and "cut and paste" efforts reinforce a negative image of the commercial district. Instead, concentrate on quality projects over quantity.
Change: Skeptics turn into believers and attitudes on Main Street will turn around. At first, almost no one believes their downtown can really turn around. Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite — public support for change will build as the Main Street program grows and consistently meets its goals. Change also means engaging in better business practices, altering ways of thinking, and improving the physical appearance of the commercial district. A carefully planned Main Street program will help shift public perceptions and practices to support and sustain the revitalization process.
Implementation: To succeed, Main Street must show visible results that can only come from completing projects. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding. Small projects at the beginning of the program pave the way for larger ones as the revitalization effort matures, and that constant revitalization activity creates confidence in the Main Street program and ever-greater levels of participation.
If you agree with the time-tested approach of the National Main Street Center, Mississippi Main Street Association and 50 other successful Mississippi Main Street Communities, please join us as we begin a new era of the Senatobia Main Street program.