Five cities in South Mississippi are among more than three dozen statewide that are accredited National Main Street Programs this year.
Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula and Picayune met the standards set for commercial-district revitalization. These involve fostering public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking economic progress and preserving historic buildings.
"Receiving National Main Street accreditation is a prestigious designation and we congratulate each of these cities for this achievement," said Bob Wilson, MMSA executive director. "Our Main Street programs in Mississippi play a strategic role in stimulating economic development in our state."
Elected president of the Mississippi Main Street Association Board of Directors for 2014-15 is Mark Loughman, director of environmental affairs for Mississippi Power. He has served as treasurer and as a vice president of the executive committee since joining the board in 2011.
Loughman is a graduate of several leadership programs including Leadership Mississippi, Leadership Gulf Coast, Leadership Jackson County and the Gulf Coast Business Council's Master's Program.
Mississippi Main Street cities last year generated 301 net new businesses, 93 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,710 net new jobs, 160 façade rehabilitations and 351 upper-floor housing units, the organization said in a press release.
Nationally, the organization has worked with more than 2,200 downtowns and urban neighborhoods in the last 34 years.