Ripley Main Street Director steps down

RIPLEY –It takes hard work and commitment to become and maintain a Main Street community. Following six years as the leader of the Ripley program, Ripley Main Street Director Allison Windham officially turned in her resignation to the Ripley Main Street Board of Directors last week. Citing family interests as her reason, Windham said, “It is time for me to spend more time with my family. This includes my children’s activities and interests, and I will be working with a family business, First Monday Trade Days, in areas of marketing and development.” Windham continued, ” The decision comes with a lot of thought and consideration over some time. Last year plans for a change in location for the office became a reality. While I was thinking my life through, I wanted to stay and see the move finished and our new facilities working well. There were other projects underway as well that I wanted to continue. The job requires devotion and sacrifice and I have loved the position. I will be available for advice and help in any and every way. But I feel it is time to turn Main Street’s Manager’s management position over to someone else.” Main Street is a philosophy, a program, and a proven comprehensive approach to downtown commercial district revitalization. It evolved from The National Trust which developed the program to save small towns from “big box” development. Under Windham’s leadership, Ripley Main Street Association has seen many accomplishments. The program assisted in listing the Ripley Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places and helped with compiling information for the Historic Resource Inventory. The program helped to develop Ripley as a Certified Local Government, and helped establish the Local Tax Abatement Program. Ripley Main Street Association received a 2005 nomination for the Tippah County Jail to the 10 Most Endangered Places from The Mississippi Heritage Trust, and received funding from Mississippi Archives & History for the Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program-Round 1V for the restoration of the Jail. Windham was instrumental in receiving funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission “Building Funds for The Arts” for the renovation of the Old Dixie Theatre. Ripley Main Street was one of 37 Mississippi Main Street communities which was recently awarded national accreditation for 2009 by the National Trust Main Street Center. Special events staged and managed by volunteers include an Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Fling and Crawfish Cook on the Ripley Square, Halloween Festival and Chili Cookoff, merchant sales activities after hours and at Christmas, and the Star-Spangled Celebration July 4. A golf tournament was added to the list of events this year. Director of Program Service, Northern District Sam Agnew commented, “The Ripley Program has been one of the model programs in the state. It has demonstrated a wonderful historic preservation ethic such as the Tippah County Jail and the Dixie Theatre renovation. Due to the great volunteer support and leadership another good manager will come. Even with a change in the manager, the goals will be accomplished. Allison is an exciting person, and it saddens me that she is stepping down.. I wish her the very best.” The Ripley Main Street Board of Directors includes: Amberly Glover as President, Mary Childs, Roger Childs, Chris Lewellen, Chris Marsalis, Lynn Hill, Sue Shelton, Andy Stoddard, Bonnie Garner, and Sherril McCoy.

Jane Matthews/Southern Sentinel