VICKSBURG/CLARKSDALE: National Heritage Area public meetings

Exploring the stories of the Mississippi Delta’s culture and heritageand identifying important places where these stories can be told is thefocus of three community forums set for May 14 and 15. 

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area will host communityforums in Vicksburg, Greenville and Clarksdale that are open to anyoneinterested in the region’s heritage. The meetings are part of a two-year planning process to develop a management plan for the 18-county National Heritage Area.

Meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
Vicksburg – Monday, May 14 – 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Vicksburg National Military Park, 3201 Clay Street, auditorium
The meeting in Vicksburg will be preceded by a presentation andspecial announcement by John Hildreth, vice president of Eastern FieldService for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Greenville – Tuesday, May 15 – 10:00 a.m. – Noon – Greenville Higher Education Center, 2900A  Highway 1 South
Clarksdale – Tuesday, May 15 – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Clarksdale Bus Station, 1540 DeSoto Avenue

“The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was designated byCongress in recognition of the region’s unique culture that hasinfluenced the nation in many ways including civil rights, blues music,literature, arts and culinary traditions,” said Luther Brown, directorof the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State Universityin Cleveland and manager of the National Heritage Area. “The goal of aNational Heritage Area is to create a community-driven network tosupport historic preservation, natural resource conservation,recreation, heritage tourism and educational projects. By workingtogether, we can support sustainable economic development throughheritage conservation and help build community pride.”

A management plan will be developed by a team led by the NationalTrust for Historic Preservation which includes some of the country’s topexperts in preserving and interpreting heritage and in heritagetourism.  The team includes both current and former managers of NationalHeritage Areas as well as planners who have successfully helped otherregions benefit from their own heritage.

“A critical part of developing a management plan is to inviteresidents throughout the region to share their thoughts and ideas aboutwhat they would like the National Heritage Area to do – and how theycould be involved – in the next decade,” said Brown.

Representatives from the planning team will facilitate the community forums. The meetingswill include a presentation on the process and timeline for developingthe management plan as well as an overview of the purpose of NationalHeritage Areas and success stories from other National Heritage Areasacross the country.

Participants will have the opportunity to work in groups to discusswhat they see as the important stories and places in the MississippiDelta that should be included in the management plan. Future communityforums will build on these discussions to identify strategies forpreserving important places and sharing the Mississippi Delta’s stories.The management plan, scheduled for completion in December 2013, willprovide guidance to manage, preserve and share the Mississippi Delta’sculture and heritage with residents and visitors. 

Reservations are not required. For more information, contact Luther Brown at 662-846-4311.

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