While we’re starting our twitter-like news feed on the MissPres page, I’ve been off a couple weeks so we’re due a traditional round-up as well.
The biggest news the past couple of weeks have been the municipal elections around the state. Here’s hoping that the re-elected and newly elected officials are good for preservation in our communities (but for the most part, only time will tell).
We’ll start with a state-wide story. A couple stories I spotted announced an $800,000 grant to MDOT to help create a driving trail of Mississippi’s Indian mounds. From the stories (here and here), it sounds like most of the funds will go to put up markers and create pull-out areas. Two spots highlighted as already being included on the trail are MDAH run sites – Grand Village in Natchez and Winterville Mounds near Greenville. MDOT will be working with archeologists at MDAH as well as tribes, such as the Choctaw, to monitor some minor excavation work on some of the mounds along the trail that we don’t know as much about. Brochures and smartphone apps are also planned – and the whole project should be finished fall 2014.
Picking up on a story we’ve seen floating around out of Corinth where the partial demolition and then the complete demolition of an historic gas station in the local district was discussed by the City Board last week. The Board met in a closed session, but the article notes that they delayed a vote on what (if any) penalty to impose on the property owner who started the demolition without going through the proper permitting process and then “accidentally” had the building collapse while asbestos abatement was underway. Part of that sidestepped permitting process would have included a review by the Preservation Commission. The reasoning behind the voting delay was so that City Officials could meet with MDAH officials as well.
Back to Natchez, repairs to the leaky roof of the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center should begin soon. According to the article, bids to do the work will be opened next week and it is anticipated that the work will be completed by the end of the year. Our friends at the Historic Natchez Foundation are overseeing the project on behalf of the City and it is part of a MDAH-funded Community Heritage Preservation Grant project awarded in 2011.
Down near Hattiesburg, the historic Bay Springs Rosenwald School is about finished with a major renovation after damage from Hurricane Katrina. Owner Dennis Dahmer, son of Civil Rights leader Vernon Dahmer, discusses the renovation project and the important history of the school in this Hattiesburg American article and video.
Up in Starkville, it sounds like the Cooley Building project is about to mount a major hurdle in getting approval for renovation. The developers got positive feedback on their plans in an informal review by the National Park Service and will now be looking at going through the formal process for approval. According to the article, the “[r]enovation plans must be approved by NPS before developers can go forward with the project.” I assume this is because of the Federal, and possibly State, tax credits being part of the reason why the funding to do the project works. No word on when they hope to actually start construction, but it’s a big project and I’m sure we’ll see another story when it happens.
Finally, I want to point out an upcoming event that you may have missed on the feed Malvaney set up to keep us in the loop. Our friends at MDAH will be holding their annual Historic Preservation Boot Camp later this week. I checked with them, and there is still space available if you want to register. The event is this week, June 13 – 14 in Jackson.
Categories: African American History, Cool Old Places, Corinth, Demolition/Abandonment, Greenville, Heritage Tourism, Historic Landscapes, Historic Preservation, Jackson, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, News Roundups, Preservation Education, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Schools, Starkville