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Washington County Courthouse
July 14, 2009

  • 6:00 p.m. meeting called to order by Melanie Sanders, Chairperson. Opening prayer by Cindy Ayers.
  • Recognize guests; Phil Vazanna and Leo Turnipseed (son of Johnnie Gibson).
  • Recognize new commissioner Cindy Ayers. Dr. Ayers gave a brief summary of her history and interest in Historical Preservation.
  • Minutes read from June 9, 2009 and amended by Johnnie Gibson to include the discussion of a steamboat theme for downtown Greenville.
  • Commissioners present; Melanie Sanders, Princella Nowell, Emmett Smith, Walley Morse, Dell Jones, Cindy Ayers, Johnnie Gibson. Dorothy Williams excused (she had an operation) and Betty Coleman excused (out of town).
Old Business
  1. Johnnie Gibson and Melanie Sanders gave an overview of the Boot Camp on Thursday June 18th. The manual that was handed out by MDAH that had most of the information that we already had covered, but a good reference tool. On Friday 19th, Walley Morse, Emmett Smith, Dell Jones and Betty Coleman attended with a lot of information shared by MDAH on what the Commission is all about.
  2. Walley gave an update on the Railroad Depot. Mark Hooker (county engineer) was assigned the responsibility of looking at the Depot and assessing its condition. Walley made the note that in the Preservation Ordinance the Commission can receive property.
  3. No word yet on the Save our History grant. It was noted that the time frame was from Sept to June of next year and we need to find out if we got it or not. Walley will look in to it.
  4. Towboat museum still at a standstill. South Delta Planners said they need more information on size, structure, etc. before they can proceed.
  5. Preserve American application has been submitted and copy provided for MDAH. U.S. Rep Bennie Thompson sent a letter of support.
  6. Melanie gave an overview of her and Walley’s trip with other interested parties to El Dorado Arkansas. Good example when everybody gets on the same page of development.
  7. Downtown Survey was discussed with map of downtown displayed. After much discussion it was decided to survey Washington Ave from the Levee to the Railroad, and Main Street from the Levee to the Railroad including the cross streets. Also making sure we included the National Guard Armory on Walnut Street. This is not establishing the Downtown Historic District, just to survey to establish the contributing and non contributing buildings within the downtown area. Johnnie Gibson brought up that a survey was done for the National Historic District (that will be included in the new district) and why that survey couldn’t be used? Walley agreed to look into it. Motion made by Emmett Smith and 2nd by Cindy Ayers and passed. It was agreed that Walley to look into contacting a person to do the survey so we can establish cost and start looking for matching money. MDAH grant would cover 50% of the cost. Nancy Bell with the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation is the closest contact person who could do the survey.
  8. Walley displayed the copies of information that he got at MDAH files in Jackson. He went through the Washington County files and copied most of the information and brought those copies back. Cindy Ayers suggested her staff scan those copies so we can down load that information for our future website. Princella was taking those copies to help do an article for the newspaper, then will give those to Cindy to scan. Then Walley can download into the Commissions computer. We discussed setting up districts corresponding to the Board of Supervisors districts to start our county wide survey of Historic Properties. Johnnie Gibson suggested the Board of Supervisors select a contact person in each of those districts to help us identify those properties. Each member of the Commission to start compiling a list of sites to consider.

New Business

  1. Dell Jones discussed the downtown Hollandale area and the First Public School in Hollandale. MDAH had been contacted by Steven Tankensly who currently lives in the old school house and is restoring it to come a look at the building. Russell Archer had come up and taken a lot of pictures that was sent to Walley, who downloaded those files into the Commissions computer. Dell had some of those pictures. She noted that the fire of 1904 had destroyed most of downtown Hollandale, and the Bank and Drug Store were the only two building that was not lost. Hollandale was known as the Bairfield Colony in honor of Steven Bairfield from 1864 to 1890.
  2. Walley agreed to start looking for grant money and develop a plan for grant applications. Cindy made the motion, Dell 2nd, and everyone agreed that we needed money.
  3. Walley asked for the amounts spent on the MDAH boot camp so they could be reimbursed. Johnnie Gibson, Melanie Sanders, to receive $30.00. Betty Coleman to receive $20.00 gas expense. Walley carpooled with Emmett, Dell, and himself to receive $20.00 gas and 40.00 for lunch for the 4 of them. Total cost $140.00 for Training Session.
  4. Sort discussion on the possibility of the National Guard Armory being used for a downtown convention center. Walley will look into with Benji Nelken for that possibility.
  5. Walley noted that he could develop a pamphlet on who we are and what we do for a hand out and he would have that at the next meeting.
  6. Phil Vazanna informed the Commission that the National List of Historic Places building “The Finlay House” was torn down today. After much discussion Princella said she had a powerpoint program “Blanton Park” that had the Finlay house in it and thought the Commission would like to see it. More discussion and it was agreed that the community needed to see it and it would provide a good opportunity for the county to meet its Historic Preservation Commissioners. Have a public meeting at the Hafter Room in the Higher Education Building and inform the public of our goals and have Princella do the power point presentation. Walley would look into costs etc., and start that planning process. It would be good to have State MDAH also at that public meeting.
  7. Meeting adjourned until August 11, 2009.
— Minutes done by Walley Morse, Secretary

Footnote: Commissioners went down to the Finlay house to look after the meeting. Terrible injustice to an old home.

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