West Point Main Street awarded Outstanding Creative Fundraiser

Members of the West Point Main Street Association were on hand for Mississippi Main Street Award presentations: Melanie Busby, Scott Reed, Kathy Dyess, Deborah Mansfield, Lisa Klutts, Anne Comer and Nikki Holton.
Staff Writer

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities at the 30th Annual Awards Luncheon in downtown Jackson. 

MMSA Board President Kevin Stafford of Neel-Schaffer and MMSA Past President Ed Gardner of Entergy presented awards to recipients from local Main Street programs throughout the state.

West Point Main Street received the award for Outstanding Creative Fundraiser with its "Dogs Playing Poker" Fundraiser.

Main Street Columbus won Outstanding Community Education Program with its "Recycling Program - Hitching Lot Farmers Market."

Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association tied with Biloxi Main Street for Outstanding Public Improvement Project. Tupelo won for its "City of Tupelo Alley Project" and Biloxi for its "Howard Avenue Redevelopment Project."

Merchant of the Year went to Bev Crossen, Tupelo Main Street Association.

There were many other awards but these are within the local area.

The annual awards luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi. 

"The win is a great honor," Lisa Klutts, director of the West Point Growth Alliance, said. "Attending the awards luncheon every year we get to see all the amazing projects, events and realization efforts happening all over the state. And we are proud to be among those being recognized."

Klutts said she submits multiple projects for judging every year and they don't always win.

"There is a lot of great work being coordinated and investments being made in downtowns all over Mississippi," Klutts said.

The Dogs Playing Poker Fundraiser was the brainchild of West Point artist, Deborah Mansfield.

"Dog portraits are my favorite," Mansfield said. "I offered to paint murals of dogs playing poker, pool, and being on a baseball card. Frank Portera allowed me to paint them on his store, where they look perfect."

A $350 donation immortalizes dogs or cats hanging out at the pool hall.

"We still have two spaces left for the baseball mural," Mansfield said. "And ten spots open on the pool table mural. So far, the murals have raised over $26,000. Half of the proceeds will go to the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter, and the other half to Main Street for other projects."

In 2018, Mississippi Main Street Communities generated 247 net new businesses, 68 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,225 net new jobs, 84 façade rehabilitations, 309 downtown residential units, 29 new construction projects and 56 public improvement projects were completed as well as 45,267 volunteer hours.

MMSA currently has 53 active Main Street programs that include 47 Main Street communities and six downtown network members.