What Makes a City Enduring?

On Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, the members of Leadership Madison County will spend their final session exploring the question, “What makes a City an enduring place?”, as they tour and hear current leaders talk about public treasures that have mapped the path to Madison County’s position as a preferred place to live.

In strategic community building, partners from public, private and non-profit and community sectors collaborate to shape the physical and social character of a region with arts, recreation and cultural activity. This energetic initiative animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings together people to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.

The class will have a day filled with exploration, discovery and activity. Nancy Perkins, executive director of the Craftsman’s Guild of Mississippi will present the Mississippi Craft Center featuring the finest Mississippi guild artists, its mission, its work in progress and vision for the future. Alan Hart, Ridgeland community development director, will update the class on the City of Ridgeland Master Plan and look at progress since its 2008 inception. From the Mississippi Craft Center, the class will explore the historic Natchez Trace and the benefits this national treasure delivers to the community.

PHOTO opportunity: 8:30 am to 9:30 Craftsman’s Guild of Mississippi

The class will proceed to Historic Canton. Jana Padgett, Canton Tourism director will take the class on a driving tour of the square, historic homes, and the jailhouse. From here, the class will visit the Canton Movie Museum and discuss the economic impact of movie production to Canton and the region. Well known movies like Mississippi Burning and My Dog Skip are just a part of the museum tour. The Canton Movie Production Facility tour will round out the day.

PHOTO opportunity: 10:30 am to 11:30 am, Movie Museum or Movie Production Facility

Over a southern home style meal at Culinary Cowboy, Madison County Historian and chief storyteller, Jim Lacey will also share several of his favorite stories from his books, The History of Madison County 1 & 2. Autographed copies of these chronicles will be available. Culinary Cowboy owners, the Stewarts, are long time family residents of Canton and the restaurant features many family recipes.

PHOTO opportunity: 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Culinary Cowboy, Canton

The day will conclude at the historic Madison Square Center for the Arts (behind the red caboose on Main Street) where the class will stroll along the campus with director Pam Waldrep. Once a school gymnasium of this small railroad town, today the historic building serves as an active center for community gatherings, lively theater, and charming children’s events. The Center Players Community Theater’s Kathryn Dawkins, will explore the impact of Community Theater, will offer a behind the scenes view of the stage set for upcoming production, The Beverly Hillbillies. Ms. Dawkins will also lead the class in the art of Improv, a wonderful leadership skill. Later, Lise Foy, Director of Project Management, Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum will present the museum and talk about what creative farming families are doing to bring the agricultural experience to families across the State. Ms. Foy will also talk about bringing fresh Mississippi foods to Mississippi tables. Susan Sgrignoli and Deirdre Danahar will round out the day with a lively exchange about Placemaking. Ms. Danahar, a leadership consultant/coach will facilitate further dialogue reflecting upon the year-long learning experience and challenge the class to act as community trustees.

Photo opportunity: 2 pm to 3:30 Madison Community Center, Main Street, Madison

According to Lenita Knight, Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) and Co Chair of Leadership Madison County, “Communities are awakening to the importance of ‘place’ in economic development. The quality of life of a region is a critical characteristic of attracting new business to Madison County.”

Chaired and led by Natalie Gideon, Netlink Cabling Systems and Lenita Knight, MCEDA, Leadership Madison County is designed to identify emerging leaders within the Madison County area and help them develop their leadership potential. Leadership Madison County (LMC) provides its class members with a broad view of civic leadership through direct contact with the people and institutions that shape the County. Throughout the year, the class explores the complex layers of the community with days devoted to studying community services, education, economic development, diversity, government, law and order, and lifestyle. The program concludes in celebration after teams have presented the community project they have implemented to add to the community’s resources. 

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce will take applications for the Leadership Madison County 2013-2014 class in late summer. For additional information please contact Madison County Chamber at 601-605-2554.