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Neshoba courthouse renovation encouraging note for downtown

By Staff
RENOVATIONS Kim Wilson, left, and Mickey Gladd work on the inside of the main courtroom on the second floor of the Neshoba County Courthouse. Their work is part of a $3.6 million renovation project at the historic building, an icon on the downtown Philadelphia square. The courthouse is expected to be ready for business by Jan. 1. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Sept. 14, 2003
PHILADELPHIA An icon marking the center of the square in this 165-year-old city is getting a makeover that officials hope will help breathe new life into the local economy.
Flanked by huge Magnolia trees, the Neshoba County Courthouse still stands as the symbol of government, but business operations at the site have been quiet since a $3.6 million renovation project was launched about year ago.
Today, the courthouse is separated from the public by orange construction fencing. But that won't last much longer and local residents are ready for the renovated courthouse to reopen by the first of the year.
They are also hoping the project will attract some new attention to Philadelphia's downtown.
The two-story building was built in 1928 and, when renovations are completed, it will house the circuit clerk, chancery clerk, board of supervisors, tax collector, tax assessor, election commissioner and superintendent of education. These public officials are currently operating out of offices in the Eastgate Shopping Center in Philadelphia.
The project has been a joint effort of the county and the Philadelphia Main Street program.
Candace Goff, executive director of the Philadelphia Main Street program, was thrilled with the decision to renovate the building.
The Main Street program is part of a community development partnership that includes the Industrial Developmental Authority, Philadelphia/Neshoba County Tourism Commission and the Chamber of Commerce.
Goff, a native of Southaven, began her job as Main Street executive director on July 14. She said her goal is to promote the downtown area through coordinating events that will encourage businesses to stay in the area.
Those committees, which are staffed by business owners and volunteers, are Design, Economic Reconstruction, Promotions and Organizations.
George Yates, one of several business owners in the downtown area, shares Goff's thoughts.
Yates will soon celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of Yates Deli on East Main Street across the street from the courthouse.
Yates spent a year renovating the space that housed Yates Drug Store, which closed in 1993.