Editor, Commonwealth:

The Howard’s End project can be a complete game changer for the city of Greenwood. This project has the opportunity to breathe new life into the tax base, provide insight on alternative options for funding for redeveloping the city, as well as strengthening our pool of taxpayers.

First off, kudos to Brantley Snipes and her team at Main Street Greenwood for working so diligently to find suitors for vacant buildings in the downtown area. If the Howard's End project comes to fruition, it will provide the opportunity to begin a ripple effect that can increase substantially the amount of revenue throughout the city.

With the city teetering back and forth with the idea of increasing city taxes to compensate for the lack of sales tax that is being generated, the success of Howard’s End would show the need for millennial-friendly venues without compromising the small-town Southern charm that makes Greenwood so special.

With Greenwood being the hub of the Delta, the downtown area can surely flourish with the right venues, eateries and boutiques to build upon the flow of traffic created by Station 222, The Alluvian hotel and other establishments in the area. As long as the project stays within the interests of all people, which are good food, good fashion, good fun and good friends, the area will thrive beyond any expectations given.

The Ferretti family also changed the game with the plan to use federal and state tax credits that are available for low-income or historic areas. The government allotted $8 billion for programs to assist with redeveloping low-income areas across the nation. Programs like this one can help revitalize not only the downtown area but also the neighboring communities that are known as historical areas.

Imagine if we recreated events such as the story of legendary blues singer Robert Johnson singing while playing his guitar in front of a gathering crowd or recreating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech in front of a large crowd about the need for voter registration at Greater Turner A.M.E. Church. The proceeds generated from the exhibits (which could be an extension of the Museum of Mississippi Delta) could be used to continue the revitalization of the respected communities with affordable but desirable homes. By doing so, the city would have a better opportunity to convert some tourists into residents of Greenwood — another way to increase the tax base of the city.

It is pivotal that we begin to transition with the times but yet stay true with who we are. Howard’s End can help tremendously in the effort of doing so.

Kenderick Cox

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