Town to reclaim historic center, capitalize on
the rebirth of passenger rail travel
JACKSON, Miss. – With the resurgence of passenger travel by rail,
small-town America is reclaiming its historic centers—the rail depots that
connect travelers with communities, thus increasing tourism and benefiting local
McComb is one such place, and city leaders’ proposal to revitalize its
downtown Depot District has snagged the city $100,000 in cash and in-kind
services in Entergy Mississippi, Inc.’s 2012 Mississippi Makeover grant
competition. To ensure a strong partnership, the city must match the grant with
at least $25,000 in cash and $25,000 of in-kind support.
"As Mississippi goes, so goes Entergy," said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy
Mississippi president and CEO. "Our employees live and work in the communities
we serve. When the communities grow, so does Entergy, so it’s in everyone’s best
interest to make our communities the best they can be."
"It was a tough competition, and we applaud all of the participating
communities for their hard work and creative ideas."
Representatives from Entergy Mississippi, Mississippi Main Street
Association, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Arts Commission and
the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University judged the
Under McComb’s winning proposal, the Ironwood Greenway will be
developed to connect disparate parts of the city. Project funding and volunteers
will clean up, clear and landscape the rail yard boundaries and public lands
along the approaches to the McComb Depot. As part of the project, community
leaders will also work with Entergy volunteers to:
- light the historical coal chute
- create a green screen with Leland cypress
- restore period light fixtures
- provide seating at an observation point and
- erect historical markers.
"Amtrak trains transport 7,000 passengers twice a day on the
Chicago-New Orleans route, and Canadian National operates daily freight
services," said Mayor Whitney Rawlings, who led the team of community leaders
that developed the proposal. "By reclaiming our historic center, we’ll
dramatically improve the first impression of rail travelers to our city. That
will pay off in benefits to our city as tourism increases and our industrial
rail customers see us as a city on the move."
The ‘shovel-ready’ project encompasses the east and west boundaries of
the north/south railroad tracks that serve as a dividing line through the city.
This will bring economic benefits to the neighborhoods along the tracks,
increasing property values. The project will also generate jobs for skilled
laborers and equipment operators.
"We’re so excited about how this project complements the other things
we’ve been working on in our historic center," said Libba Alford, president of
the McComb Main Street Association. "We’ve recently expanded our Depot Museum
Park, and we’re planning an expansion of our Depot Museum railcar collection and
"And we just won a Brownfield Grant to assess railroad property and to
create more recreation opportunities for our citizens," she added. "As these
projects all come together, our Depot District will be our city’s crown jewel!"
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to more than 437,000
customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy
Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power
production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power
plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity,
including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the
nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million
utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has
annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.