MissPres News Roundup 2-8-2011

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping the groundhog was right about an “early spring” – I’m not a fan of the ice and cold.  Plus, as it warms up, we’ll all have more chances to get out and visit the nominees for the 101 Places List we’re creating.  Friday was the last day to vote in the Natchez region poll, but we still have a lot more buildings to vote on starting again this Friday.

And now on to some news from around the state for the last week:

First, a follow-up on the story in Clinton about the proposed gazebo in the historic district.  According to the Clarion Ledger, the Board of Aldermen toured the site and voted unanimously to allow for the construction of the gazebo.  The way this follow-up story reads, I’m not sure if it was the Planning and Zoning or the Historical Commission that really was the real target of the property owner’s complaints.  In the previous story, as well as this one, the reason for tabling a decision was so that the commission could have time to see the site and understand how the gazebo would fit.  I had the impression that they were going to do so before their February meeting and that the “delay” would only be the one month.  Apparently, the owner’s complaints (the press coverage probably helping) that this was “too long” of a delay got the attention of the Board of Aldermen, who inspected the site and made a decision before either of their appointed commissions could take up the issue again.

Staying in the central part of the state, news in Jackson this week about a group in Fondren formed to “Save Our Strip” from being demolished for the proposed “Whitney Place” development.  The Jackson Free Press reports that the “Save Our Strip” group has started an online petition asking developer David Watkins to preserve a 1938 strip of Fondren businesses on North State Street.  MissPres has been following the proposed development in Fondren almost since the beginning but more recently since October.  This group has formed from responses to the original articles in the Jackson Free Press (JFP) and at the time of this week’s article they had about 190 people supporting the petition.  Now I see on the petition site that they have almost 250. I’m sure JFP will keep on top of any developments and maybe other local media will pick up on it as well.  Whatever reports are there, we’ll keep watching.  Here’s hoping that this group becomes an example for other grassroots preservation movements!

Another Jackson area story – this time really good news.  Although I haven’t seen any local press about it, I caught an announcement on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s site that on February 1, 2011, the National Park Service and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced $14.3 million in Save America’s Treasures grants – including a little over $200,000 to Tougaloo College Civil Rights Collection.  The NTHP site has the full list of projects, but here’s what they said about the Tougaloo College project:

In many ways Mississippi was the crucible of America’s Civil Rights movement. The Tougaloo College Archives has collected evidence of the complex struggles for political, social, and economic equality that began in the 1950s and continued throughout the century. Funds will support the preservation and processing of eight manuscript collections of personal papers, artifacts, legal records, and audio-visual materials documenting the civil rights movement.

Congrats to Tougaloo!

The city of Ocean Springs announced on their website that they are currently accepting applications from local citizens to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission.  I’m curious if this is for the same vacancy they announced back in October when I first started doing the News Round-ups, or if they had another vacancy open up.

A couple of stories out of Columbus this week.  First, The Dispatch reported on Columbus Main Street’s monumental year in 2010.  Besides reporting on the statistics of the last year – which included designation as one of the top five main streets in the country – the newspaper also gave some statistics on the impact of Main Street since it started in 1985.  Since then, “more than $35 million has been invested by private entities and nearly $10 million by public, creating more than 7,800 jobs and 172 new businesses” in Columbus.  Kudos to them for all the good work!

Finally, I was sent a link to a YouTube video.  It was an interview done with Dixie Butler who owns the antebellum landmark “Temple Heights.”  A large, old oak tree at Temple Heights fell, just missing the house.  I was just told it was “local news media” who did the interview and posted it on YouTube, so I had to do a little digging to find the original story.  I thought it would be the local TV station, but turns out it was The Dispatch again.  The story – with the video – is available here.

Categories: Civil Rights, Clinton, Columbus, Grants, Historic Preservation, Jackson, MS Dept. of Archives and History, News Roundups, Ocean Springs, Preservation People/Events

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