Hopkins, Fondren, Sigh honored at MMSA awards luncheon

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

It was a big day for Vicksburg program leaders Thursday afternoon in Jackson.

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated 40 years of downtown revitalization success and announced statewide award winners at its 2024 Annual Awards Luncheon at The South in downtown. Among the day’s award recipients were Downtown Vicksburg Main Street Program Executive Director Kim Hopkins, Rebecca Sigh, representing both Downtown Vicksburg Main Street Program and the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market, and Catfish Row Museum Executive Director Linda Fondren.

Hopkins received the 2024 Charles Beasly Main Street Director of the Year award; Sigh received the 2024 Main Street Hero Award; and Fondren received the 2024 Outstanding New Development Project award for “Cooking Up Connections at Catfish Row.”

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“I’m incredibly honored to receive the Main Street Director of the Year award from the Mississippi Main Street Association,” Hopkins said. “After 16 years as director, it’s been so much fun and a true joy to see our vision come to life and meet the backbones of our community, small business owners. I’ve enjoyed every moment and all the hard work that went into making our Main Street shine.”

The Annual Awards Luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members, and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown revitalization projects and events from designated Main Street communities throughout Mississippi.

In celebration of MMSA’s 40th anniversary, special remarks were made by Gov. Tate Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Katie Blount, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Leah Kemp, executive director of the Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center.

“2024 is a special year as we celebrate 40 years of Main Street and remember our founders and the leaders who have gotten our statewide organization to where we are today,” MMSA Executive Director Jim Miller said. “Main Street programs are an important economic driver in our state, and we honor and celebrate the local and state champions each year at our Annual Awards.”

MMSA staff presented the 2024 awards to recipients from designated Main Street communities throughout the state.

This year’s award recipients are:

Aberdeen Main Street

Amory Main Street

Biloxi Main Street

Booneville Main Street Association

Main Street Clinton

Main Street Columbia, Inc.

Main Street Columbus

Main Street Greenville

Gulfport Main Street Association

Downtown Hattiesburg Association

Laurel Main Street

Meridian Main Street

Downtown Natchez Alliance

Nettleton Main Street

New Albany Main Street

Main Street Pascagoula

Ripley Main Street

Saltillo Main Street Association

Senatobia Main Street

Starkville Main Street Association

Tunica Main Street

Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

Vicksburg Main Street Program

Water Valley Main Street Association

West Point Main Street

Woodville Main Street Association

A total of 30 Main Street programs also earned the Main Street Circle of Excellence and were recognized for their notable efforts in running efficient local programs and excelling with all MMSA requirements of a designated Main Street program. Medals were presented to the following communities: Aberdeen, Amory, Baldwyn, Biloxi, Booneville, Clinton, Columbus, Corinth, Crystal Springs, Greenville, Gulfport, Kosciusko, Laurel, Louisville, Meridian, Natchez, Nettleton, Pascagoula, Pearl, Pontotoc, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia, Starkville, Tunica, Tupelo, Vicksburg, Water Valley, West Point, and Woodville.

Additionally, the 2024 Nationally Accredited and Affiliate Main Street programs were recognized, as well as new members, and Main Street directors who have served for 10 years or longer in their communities.

This year’s Annual Awards Sponsors included Platinum Sponsor: Visit Vicksburg; Gold Sponsors: Mississippi Power, Neel-Schaffer, and SuperTalk Mississippi; Silver Sponsors: Belinda Stewart Architects, The Cottage Industry, Hancock Whitney, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, New Albany Main Street, and Ten One Strategies; and Bronze Sponsors: Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center, Senatobia Main Street, Greater Starkville Development Partnership, and West Point Main Street.

Corporate Sponsors for the event included Entergy Mississippi, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, and Mississippi Power.

In 2023, Mississippi Main Street’s Designated Communities generated 372 new businesses, 71 business expansions, 868 new jobs, 170 building rehabilitations, and 704 downtown residential units. In addition, 139 public improvement projects were completed as well as 70 new construction projects in downtown business districts. More than $326 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2023, and more than 46,919 volunteer hours were recorded.

Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $6 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.8 billion in public investment).

MMSA currently has 48 Designated Main Street communities, two Network communities, and 26 Associate members.