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February 4, 2008




(JACKSON, Mississippi) — Governor Haley Barbour today named five communities to the new Certified Cultural Corners program, grants designated to towns with a population of less than 20,000 to preserve and promote their cultural heritage significance.


“Because Mississippi has played a vital part in American history, our culture and heritage is one of our greatest assets,” Governor Barbour said. “Our tourism industry is dedicating its resources to aid in enhancing and promoting communities that have cultural assets of national importance.”


The five pilot communities, located in five different regions of the state, are:


Cleveland- Delta Region;
Holly Springs-Hills Region;
Ocean Springs-Coast Region;
Philadelphia-Pines Region; and
Woodville-Capitol/River Region.


The purpose of the program is to assist communities in identifying their cultural heritage assets, developing a tourism infrastructure, improving the community’s aesthetics, and the marketing of these assets for cultural and heritage tourism. Criteria for the communities are outlined by the Bureau of Film and Culture, within the Mississippi Development Authority’s Division of Tourism.


"Mississippi's rich culture and heritage are unmatched. For many of our smaller communities, the wealth of literary, musical, and culinary heritage, combined with history, art, and architecture, is their greatest asset,” said Craig Ray, MDA Tourism Director. “This program will help those communities develop that asset into a cultural and heritage tourism product."


The next step is to conduct town meetings, where community leaders will participate in their initial cultural assessment and begin making plans to enhance their areas of cultural significance. The formation of the Certified Cultural Corners pilot program will continue to expand and include more communities; therefore, continue to ensure that these assets are preserved and promoted for the enjoyment of Mississippians and visitors alike.