By STEVEN NALLEY
A report given during Starkville Convention and Visitorsâ Bureauâs Wednesday meeting revealed lower attendance than expected at the Downtown Block Party.
Part of the CVBâs New South Weekends series of events scheduled for Fridays before Mississippi State University football games, the Downtown Block Party featured live music, inflatable jumpers and a Tailgating Wear Fashion Show to attract visitors to local restaurants and retailers. Jennifer Gregory, vice president for tourism development with GSDP, said the Starkville Police Department estimated 2,000 people attended the event.
âIt was a good weekend; there were a lot of people in town, but it didnât feel like there were as many people downtown on Friday night,â Gregory said. âI honestly expected a lot more.â
Gregory said there were other indicators of fewer visitors in town for MSUâs game against Louisiana Tech University on Sept. 24 versus other weekends. For instance, she said more than 1,700 people rode MSUâs Downtown Gameday Shuttles for MSUâs game against Louisiana State University Sept. 15.
âFor Louisiana Tech, there were 350 riders, which is really strange to me,â Gregory said. âThen (Main Street Association program coordinator Robyn Cain) had seen on Facebook that a couple of the hotels had available rooms, so she called all of the major hotels in Starkville, and there were over 60 hotel rooms available this past weekend, which is crazy.â
In other business, the board also re-elected Jeremiah Dumas as CVB chair, Bethany Stich as vice-chair and renewed its management contract with GSDP, which allows CVB and GSDP to share operating expenses. Dumas said this contract will only last one year â the last one lasted seven â because the CVB needs to review its budget and GSDPâs role in it annually. He said the new contract also removes the GSDPâs prior role in handling CVBâs marketing.
âThroughout the whole document, we took out the word âMarketing,ââ Dumas said. âNow, with the money weâre spending on the marketing side of things, we donât have to rely on the partnership to do that marketing for us, so this contract changes in that sense.â
Finally, in his report to the CVB, GSDP President Jon Maynard announced a third new bank will be coming to Starkville, joining a Renasant Bank coming to the Thad Cochran Research Park and a Trustmark Bank to be located next to Jewelerâs Bench.
âIâm not allowed to say who they are or where theyâre going,â Maynard said. âItâs a smaller bank, but they want to have a hometown presence in Starkville. They are probably not going to open their doors for about another 12 months.â