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Community Development Archives

December 1, 2008

Walnut Grove - making things happen

We heard today from Brian about improvements in Walnut Grove. In the last few months they have added a covered stage in the park near the library; re-striped the streets in the downtown area; improved landscaping around the library and re-roofed the library; two new businesses have opened; one has expanded; three buildings have been painted and/or renovated; trees have been planted downtown; a bike rack added to the library parking; a restuarant was remodeled and reopened downtown; and jobs added to the community.

This is an example of what communities can do when they have a CAN DO spirit.

Thanks for the news Brian.

June 2, 2009

Leadership Noxubee: Committed to Making a Difference

I was asked to provide facilitation and training to Leadership Noxubee's most recent session. We had a healthy three-hour discussion on the importance of building communities by seeking to uncover local assets and leveraging external resources by strengthening partnerships to get things done. Class members have several ideas for community betterment, and I look forward to seeing this group take charge and make a positive impact in their community.

We met in an Internet cafe called Macon Connections. This is a tremendous asset to the community, as many folks were observed driving by the store with laptops in hand undoubtedly checking e-mail and making a quick Web surf. Unfortunately, the cafe is only open a couple of days a week right now. Hopefully, an organization or individual will take the lead to keep this resource sustainable for local students and other residents.

I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with this group. Providing leadership opportunities for local residents is extremely important. I encourage communities without a program similiar to Leadership Noxubee to look at communities with active and successful ones and develop programs that fit your communities. And Mississippi State will be happy to help you accomplish this.

July 8, 2009

Great News for Plantersville

Congratulations to the folks in Plantersville for receiving a CDBG Community Self-Help grant from MDA for nearly $100,000! A group of residents have been working diligently to renovate their local community center.

They started with a vision of what this project could become, and they have been working hard to achieve it. In fact, at one meeting they passed around the hat and collected money from the residents to jump start the process. They realized they first had to put some "skin in the game" themselves. Soon after they were successful at being awarded a mini grant from ARC through the Appalachian Community Leadership Program. Now, this latest grant will certainly help them get where they want to be.

This is a great story. It shows that by building consensus around a vision, setting realistic goals, and taking ownership by mobilizing volunteers good things can happen. Hats off to you!

August 21, 2009

On a Roll in Quitman

Most folks will agree that meetings aren't always fun, but last night's town hall meeting in Quitman was an exception. Over 150 residents came out with rain and thunderstorms all around to listen and learn ways to move their community to the next level. We applaud Mayor Fulton and all the residents for the outpouring of suppport and concern for their community. Folks showed up early and stayed late. What an awesome thing to witness!

Mississippi Development Authority and MSU's Community Action Team as well as other resource agencies were on hand to set the stage and provide information on the host of resources available to them. Understanding what the data says about your community and understanding the importance of moving forward with a collective vision and a plan to guide that vision is critical.

After the presentations were over and hotdogs were served, folks signed up on committees by the dozens. Talking, sharing, learning, VOLUNTEERING! Building community from within is what it's all about. Success will likely come quickly as these committees continue to evolve and develop strategies to tackle their goals.

The optimism and enthusiasm in the room last night was contagious. This kind of energy will surely result in positive outcomes for Quitman if this momentum continues. Keep up the good work!

January 22, 2010

Grassroots Foundation Working to Transform Their Community

I had the pleasure recently to meet with Dr. Corena Miller, President of the John Wesley Miller Community Foundation in Choctaw County. This foundation originated in 2008 in memory of her father. who was a community activist of the Spay/Pandhandle Community. It's mission is to promote equality and positive social change in the community.

The foundation was recently successful in receiving two grants from the Choctaw County Economic Development Foundation to purchase tools for ongoing community clean-up projects and nice signage to help identify and set apart this community.

It's terrific to see grassroots organizations such as this one actively working for improved quality of life for all residents. The folks in the Spay/Panhandle area of Choctaw County are to be commended for taking a proactive role through "bottoms up" community improvement.

The MSU Community Action Team looks forward to working with the foundation board of directors and residents to help them chart a vision and plan for the future that ensures continued success.

March 15, 2010

Great Things Continue for Quitman

Mayor Fulton and community leaders traveled to MSU last week to see the great work done by MSU graphic design students. Multiple ideas for a logo for branding purposes were on display, and the Quitman folks left campus with a chosen favorite. This is an exciting opportunity for student work to be applied with real world application to help brand a community to make it more appealing to residents and visitors alike.

A lot of energy can be found throughout Quitman. The townsfolk really embraced the First Impressions program and have since implemented many ideas for improvement. A new design for a city park, painted and updated downtown buildings, and other improvements are just the beginning as the community looks to the future. MSCAT looks forward to providing additional assistance to help Quitman build a more prosperous community. Hats off to you!

A New Community Center in Sturgis?

We were glad to have the opportunity to meet with Mayor Turner in Sturgis last week to discuss the feasibility of having a local church building converted into a community center. When church numbers dwindled several years ago, the few remaining church members decided to dontate the facility to the town. This is a great way to increase civic involvement and provide a means for folks to gather.

A lot needs to happen to completely renovate the facility, but a vision for what "can be" is always a starting point. We also appreciate Dr. Chris Smith from the Bagley College of Engineering at MSU for taking time to join us on the visit and help determine what structural issues must be addressed. Hopefully, this will turn into a great project for engineering students. It's a terrific way to give an old building a new purpose that will come in quite handy for years to come.

MSCAT looks forward to continued assistance and follow up as this project moves forward. This has the potential to be a really great community-driven project.

About Community Development

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Dawg Tracks in the Community Development category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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