Main Street off to Walnut

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Vicksburg Main Street Program is unpacking boxes in a new office once again, this time inside the city-owned Ellis Building on Walnut Street that is also home to the safety department.

Main Street — which promotes downtown events, residency and development via city contributions and a special downtown tax on commercial properties — had been operating from 1309 Washington St. since January. Before that, the program’s two-person staff had offices in the City Hall Annex on Walnut Street, where they’d been temporarily housed since the 2006 collapse of a Clay Street building near its former office at 1221 Washington St.

The program’s most recent move is being undertaken as a money-saving endeavor. The program is waiting to move into the Levee Street Depot along with the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau in about a year, once renovations on a transportation museum and office spaces are complete.

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Main Street had been paying $650 per month at 1309 Washington St. It won’t have to pay any rent in the Ellis Building, which the city purchased in 1999 and renovated in 2004. The city annually contributes about $127,000 to the program.

Meanwhile, Uptown Florist & Gifts owner Walter Osborne — also the city clerk and a member of the Vicksburg Main Street Program board of directors — announced his business will move in coming weeks into 1309 Washington St.

Osborne’s business in the Nelson Cotton building and years ago Bell’s Shoe Store has operated at 1501 Washington St. since it opened more than five years ago. The Nelson Cotton Building, which also is for sale, is owned by Omaha-based Estate Resources, and Uptown Florist had been its only tenant.

Osborne’s new spot at 1309 Washington St. is owned by Marianne Floyd and Gina Pugh, who also own and operate Sweet Beginnings, next door at 1311 Washington St.

Main Street has agreed to pay $500 per month rent at the Levee Street Depot. City officials hope renovations on the 103-year-old building will begin by Oct. 1.

Along with housing the safety department, the Ellis Building — also known as the Safety Building — is home to some police department training classrooms and an office for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.