Skip to content
New Mississippi Main Street Executive...

New Mississippi Main Street Executive Director eyes expansion into more communities

By: Jeremy Pittari - May 22, 2024

  • Jim Miller wants to educate cities and towns on the benefits of forming their own Main Street organizations.

Jim Miller took the helm of the Mississippi Main Street Association earlier this year as its new Executive Director. Miller brings with him experience in the insurance industry, higher education, and a background of working with federal grants, a skill he foresees will be invaluable in his new role. 

Prior to joining the Mississippi Main Street Association in March, Miller worked with the Mississippi Community College Board as an alignment specialist and assistant director of resource development. He holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in higher education from Mississippi College. He will obtain his doctoral degree this summer from the University of Southern Mississippi in higher education administration. 

Miller is looking to increase the number of Main Street communities across the state through engagement. He told Magnolia Tribune that he has seen firsthand the impact of the work conducted by Main Street organizations, not just in Mississippi, but across the nation. 

“It’s a very powerful model that absolutely works,” Miller said. 

The Main Street Approach is a model that focuses on four points: organization, promotion, design and economic vitality. The tools provided by the Mississippi Main Street Association are utilized by each member community in various ways since every downtown or business district is unique.

Using the resources and technical assistance provided through Main Street, once deteriorating downtowns across Mississippi are becoming vibrant and viable.

Of the state’s nearly 300 cities, less than a third are Main Street communities. Currently within Mississippi, there are 48 “designated” Main Street communities, two “network” communities and 30 “associate” communities.

All communities entering the program start at the associate level. Membership in the organization provides each Main Street community with tools to assist them in their efforts to revitalize downtown areas using the Main Street Approach. Reaching the designated status can then lead to being nationally accredited through Main Street America.

In 2023, Mississippi Main Street communities had an economic impact that resulted in 372 new businesses, 71 business expansions, 868 new jobs, and 170 façade rehabilitations.

The Association’s 2022 annual report showed that Main Street communities in Mississippi generated over $82 million in private investment and $160 million in public investment.

Miller said one of his goals as the Association’s Executive Director is to educate more cities and towns about the benefits of forming their own Main Street organizations, highlighting the return on investment that comes with the strategic focus. 

“I would love to see more communities benefit from Main Street and what it brings to the table,” Miller said. “Looking at those local directors we have across the state, those are the true superstars that are working in the trenches tirelessly for revitalization in their respective communities.”

Miller also wants to educate the public on what the Main Street communities in the state offer through their unique events, promotions and cultural experiences. Visitors to the Mississippi Main Street website will find an interactive map with information about events offered by the member organizations along with links to the individual communities across the state. 

“If you live in Tupelo, then take a look at what’s happening on the Coast. Take a road trip and check it out,” Miller said. “You might experience something you’ve never experienced before.”

Designated Main Street communities include:

Network Communities include:

Pass Christian

Associate Communities include:

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy:
Previous Story
Next Story