Main St., Chamber to merge

After more than two years as an integral part of planning and development in Pontotoc, the Main Street Association Board will merge with the Pontotoc Chamber of Commerce Board.

“In May, the Chamber Board of Directors voted to merge the boards into one board of directors,” said Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce president Donnie Benjamin.

Benjamin said the move is intended to improve coordination between the Chamber and Main Street activities, avoid duplication of effort and make both entities more effective in serving the county.

“When Main Street was formed, we never sat down and formalized how the two boards would work together, and this is just the next step in getting that process done,” Benjamin said.

The Chamber and the Main Street Boards had to, in essence, “fold” into each other “to clarify organizational relationships so changes that need to be made with the Secretary of State’s office can be done,” Benjamin said.

“The Chamber by-laws as a not-for-profit don’t include the new title designation and we had to revise them,” he explained.

And the two organizations are each an integral part of the other, because “the resources available to Pontotoc County because of its designation as a Main Street community have significant potential.”

And Benjamin said the board of directors as a whole “is committed to meeting the expectations of membership in the Mississippi Main Street Association.

“The Main Street committee structure will continue to be an important part of Pontotoc’s organization and will be a model for other committees intended to enhance the Chambers ability to respond to community needs.”

The four committees included in Main Street include promotion, organization, economic development and design.

“The only reason we exist is to make Pontotoc successful and we want to focus on those things that we can do to accomplish that,” Benjamin said.

Current Main Street Board members who will come into the Chamber Board include Lisa Bryant, Shane Clayton, Kay Davis, Diane Jolly and Bruce McCoy.

Board officers for the coming year include Tud Pittman as president, Lisa Bryant, vice-president; Shane Clayton, secretary/treasurer.

Other board members include Brad Brown, Greg Brown, Ken Butler, Preston Campbell, Barbara Curry, Brant Gardner, Mike Hall, Karen Laprade, Carolyn McGeehee, Lee Oswalt, Brad Rackley, Danny Robbins, Eugene Vaughn and Sidra Winter.

Main Street director is Ellen Russell with Lori Collins and Carolyn Lauderdale serving at the Chamber/Main Street office. The Chamber director position is currently vacant due to the departure of Cecilia Derrington.

“We are waiting about making any decisions on filling posts until the new public officials are sworn in,” Benjamin said. “We want to get their input before we go forward.”

Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress