New walking map available for visitors to downtown|[08/14/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vicksburg Main Street has a new offering for downtown visitors – a map to guide their walk through the downtown area.

The map, offered for free at downtown businesses, is color-coded by street. On the back of the brochure-style folding map, each business is listed by number under the colored street name.

Main Street director Rosalie Theobald said 500 maps are printed at a time and changes – if a business closes or a new business opens – are updated with every printing.

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The promotional tool is a way to offer visitors &#8220the best” of downtown, which received a facelift as a result of a 2001 urban renewal that focused on the area.

The map was designed by Kelly McCaffrey of the planning department about a year ago.

&#8220He did a great job of getting the map color-coded and getting all the main streets on it,” Theobald said.

The maps were first published in-house in October 2006. With money left over in the budget, Theobald decided a more professional look was needed. To have them printed, it costs about 17 cents for each map. In addition to the printed maps, a kiosk-type marker at City Front welcomes visitors and offers the map to those seeking attractions along Levee Street, home to the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals, the Art Park at Catfish Row and Splash Fountain and future museums.

&#8220This shows the variety of stores we have downtown and shows we do have a wide variety – everything from A to Z they could possibly need,” she said.

Harry Sharp, chairman of the Main Street board, said the map is an example of the organization’s fulfilling its mission.

&#8220The map is just another example of Rosalie’s leadership in taking care of business,” he said.

Main Street organizes special events and sales-related promotions downtown. Currently, the taxing district has 152 businesses, which includes retail shops, restaurants, law firms, real estate agencies and more.

The organization has had a bumpy year, changing locations twice as a result of the January 2006 collapse of the Thomas Furniture building, which caused abandonment of Main Street’s adjacent headquarters. Currently, Theobald maintains temporary headquarters in an office in the City Hall Annex.

&#8220This has been a really hard year,” she said. &#8220I’ll be so glad to go home – wherever that is on Washington Street.”

But, even with the &#8220trying times,” the Main Street board stepped up to meet all deadlines and stayed on the ball with the mission of the organization, she said.

Theobald was out 12 weeks due to illness and assistant director Erin Hern was out on maternity leave and has since resigned.

&#8220During the time I was out and Erin was out, the board had phone calls directed to them. Even during a difficult time, we survived,” she said. &#8220I think it says a lot about the organization being strong. We didn’t miss a lick at any of the promotions or advertisements.”

Regardless of the hard times, Sharp said downtown has never acted or looked better in the 22 years since Main Street was created as a promotional entity.

&#8220Its future has never been brighter,” he said. &#8220Tourists tell me on a daily basis that they can’t believe the values here and the potential,” he said. &#8220It’s such a magnificent jewel that hasn’t been discovered. I’ve felt that way for 22 years.”

Keeping an active role in the progress of downtown is a mission of the Main Street staff and board.

&#8220Our utmost and top priority is safety. We always want everyone to feel like when they come downtown they’re safe,” Theobald said.

Main Street, a city business development program, is funded by about $160,000 in city allocations and a special tax on downtown real estate.

The nine-member board, which consists mainly of downtown business owners, is searching for a replacement for Hern, who came aboard June 2005.

&#8220We’ve had quite a number of responses and are very excited about the prospects,” Sharp said.

An upcoming event the organization has already begun promoting is Downtown Vicksburg’s Fall Festival, which is set for Oct. 10. The Main Street board is also planning to star in a TV commercial, which will help promote downtown.

&#8220We’re always trying to come up with something new and different,” she said.


The map, offered for free at downtown businesses, is color-coded by street. On the back of the brochure-style folding map, each business is listed by number under the colored street name.