Main Street Association working to spruce up Charleston

By DANA CLOLINGER,

What a difference a fresh coat of paint, dedicated volunteers and determination make when it comes to sprucing up Main Street! 

Norma Platt moved into the role of director of Charleston Main Street Association (CMSA) in May, and she has not looked back.

A few of her accomplishments include organizing donations of paint and supplies from Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams and Lowe’s, organizing volunteers to paint buildings in Charleston, and organizing lunch/refreshments for all of these painters.

Volunteers have included, but are not limited to, James Douglas, Carolyn Douglas, Mamie Crowder, Sedrick Pride and Earl Tellis.  Contributions of lunches have come from Snack Bar, Bumpers, Mr. Jiffy, Roy Crowder and Norma Platt, plus donations of water and refreshments from numerous people. 

To date, under Ms. Platt’s guidance, CMSA  has painted 10 buildings: Unclaimed Furniture, Bynum This and That, Grannie’s Discount, Hamilton’s, Mama Lou’s Diner, Zappa’s, Val’s Chateau & Boutique, Mane Attraction, Womble Funeral Home and Daphane’s  (former Charleston Drug Company).

CMSA was the recipient of ferns and flowers donated by Johnson Sporting Goods and Blake Adams with the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program at the University of Mississippi, which are now hanging along the storefronts on Main Street.

“Just one trip down Main Street and you can definitely see the difference,” said Jimmie Stennett, CMSA board member. Along with Ms. Platt, Nala Crumb, an intern from the University of Mississippi, has documented the transformation of the project from start to its present view.

CMSA thanks all of the aforementioned contributors. In addition, CMSA thanks employees of the city of Charleston, who daily transported supplies to and from the work sites.  Without the combined efforts, in conjunction with the membership fees, none of this could have been accomplished.

CMSA was founded in 2017 as a nonprofit organization to stimulate economic development and downtown revitalization in Charleston through the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA).

Specifically, the purpose is threefold: (1) To promote a climate for the retention of existing business, industry and agriculture; (2) To support the Charleston community to improve economic vitality and quality of life for citizens and (3) To provide support for and encourage revitalization of the Main Street and traditional downtown Square areas.

Current board members of the CMSA in addition to Stennett are Gerry Speir, Catherine Moring, Patsy Simmons, Jeanette Bowens, Nathan Hartley, Charles Johnson, LaWanda Herron and Dana Clolinger.

CMSA works in conjunction with the MMSA, which is a state coordinating program of Main Street America that provides training and program assistance to 53 Main Street communities and network members in Mississippi. Since 1993, MMSA has provided more than $5 billion in public and private reinvestment into Main Street communities. 

CMSA is currently working to strategically plan their project list for the fall. Updating their Facebook page is one small piece of this project list. A membership drive will also begin in September to attract new members, as well as to allow current members to renew their membership.

CMSA thanks all who have participated and supported these projects and who will do so in the future.  Anyone interested in volunteering, or joining as a member, may send an email to charlestonmainstreet@gmail.com.

IN THE PHOTO: Hanging flowers and pots of ferns placed by Charleston Main Street Association add fresh life to a strip of West Main Street in the city.  (Photo by Clay McFerrin)

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