Making Dollars and Sense in Downtown Revitalization

Learning Approach: Best Practices

| Sheraton New Orleans, Napoleon A | Posted: Tuesday, 9:30-9:45 a.m.

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Making Dollars and Sense

Evaluating your community’s festivals and events, especially if they are supported by public dollars or investments, is a vital part of your work as a Main Street manager. This session details a step-by-step process for evaluating events and offers tools that Mississippi managers have used to create support and negotiation strategies to strengthen their events and communities. Hear a brief overview of economic and demographic information that can be determined through special events and the uses and limitation of such information.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the importance of economic analysis for special events.
  2. Identify appropriate and affordable means of evaluating events.
  3. Determine how to use event evaluation to build support for events.
  4. Examine public budgeting and how to use market analysis and economics to justify public spending for tourism events.


For more information contact:

Jan Miller, Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA)
Jan Miller is the Central District Director for MMSA. Her job responsibilities include oversight of and providing program support for 21 Main Street Communities in Miss. In working with such nationwide organizations as United Way and American Red Cross, Miller gained vast experience in the non-profit world including organizational development, fundraising, sponsor vetting and creation of strategic corporate alliances with non-profits. In the Main Street arena, Miller worked for Main Street Columbus as the Executive Director for seven years. During that time she was responsible for creation of one of Mississippi's most walkable downtown districts, as well as one of the most successful festivals in the State of Mississippi. Since that time, she has worked with dozens of Main Streets throughout the Southeast region. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, festival development and assessment and retail consulting. She has been honored by such luminaries as Mississippi University for Women, Southeast Tourism Society and MMSA. She was also selected as Practitioner of the Year by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.

Rachel Carter, Mississippi State University
Rachael Carter is a Project Manager for the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. Her work focuses on community and economic development, public policy, and tourism. Rachael is the 2012 recipient of the Excellence in Extension and Outreach Award for the Southern Rural Sociological Association. She was also the co-author of the article Festivals That Say Cha-Ching! which was featured in May/June 2012 Main Street Now.

Dr. Al Myles, Ph.D, Mississippi State University
Dr. Al Myles serves as an Economist and Extension Professor in the Dept of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi St Univ. Before joining the department in 2005, he served 22 years as a Community Development Specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service. he also provides educational programs and technical assistance using the latest research-based knowledge, strategies, and technology to strengthen the capacity of citizens, organizations, and governments, and small businesses within the state and nation. He specializes in the areas of feasibility and impact analyses; business development, retail development; tourism development, and facilities and services. The strength of his Extension outreach program is a practical approach of working with local leaders, developments organizations state, and federal governments to address critical issues.

Margaret Miller, Ocean Springs Main Street
Margaret Miller is a 25 year veteran Main Street Manager in Ocean Springs, MS. During her tenure, Ocean Springs has embraced the arts and the creative economy, becoming one of the premier destination communities in Mississippi. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Miller became one of the most sought after voices in the recovery and rebuilding stages. She served on the Governor's Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal as well as several other recovery committees. Once the Gulf Coast began to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon explosion unleashed the largest oil spill in history upon the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once again, Miller was at the fore of finding ways to reverse the negative publicity and help bring visitors back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.