‘YourTown’ registration continues through April 24

Officials at Mississippi State are inviting Magnolia State community
leaders to participate in a two-and-a-half day interactive workshop
designed to enhance skills for addressing common municipal issues and

Registration for the 2013 YourTown workshop continues through
Wednesday [April 24].

Taking place May 15-17 at Lake Tiak O’Khata in Louisville, the
workshop has up to 36 seats available for interested municipal
officials, chamber of commerce and economic development
representatives, and local volunteers.

YourTown registration may be completed via the “Programs” link at

Now in its fourth year being sponsored by the university, the
YourTown training program is organized by MSU’s John C. Stennis
Institute of Government and Community Development.

“We bring local community activists together to take a broader look
at what economic development is and how they can enhance economic
development efforts in their towns,” said Joe Fratesi, project director.

“We’ll cover a variety of topics, from planning to historic
preservation to downtown revitalization, arts and culture, and
natural resources so they can see how the local community can utilize
these avenues to make it better,” he added.

Research associate Jeremy Murdock said participants will learn about
asset-based development from a variety of planning and design experts.

Sessions will be led by representatives of the Mississippi Arts
Commission, Mississippi Development Authority and Mississippi
Department of Archives and History, among others.

“Engagement, partnership, collaboration: We’re here to engage local
communities and provide them access to the resources here on campus —
faculty, staff and students — to help them enhance economic
development,” Fratesi said. “We’re engaging communities to show them
how to make themselves better products by partnering.”

After YourTown participants apply the concepts they’ve learned in
hands-on exercises, they will conclude with group presentations to
share what they’ve learned from the training.

YourTown is an approved training course for Mississippi Main Street
managers and Certified Local Government Required Training for
historic preservation commissions.

Also, Mississippi Municipal League members may receive three elective
credits for participation.

“We’ll have a collection of resource personnel in one room at the
same time; it’s a huge benefit to the people who come,” Murdock said.
“We focus on what every small-town community in Mississippi sees, has
seen or will see.”

For more information, contact Fratesi at 662-325-6703 or