August 9th, 2012
Southern Bancorp recently presented Main Street Blytheville with a $15,000 donation to be used for the demolition and construction of the old Hoops Drive-In lot.
The lot, located next to the Greyhound Bus Station, is being turned into a landscaped parking lot.
Although a few weeks behind the originally projected schedule, demolition is expected to start as soon as next week.
July 17th, 2012
An effort to gin up support for the proposed KaBOOM! playground at Martin Luther King, Jr. park yielded one
child $100 and project organizers a psychedelic clay playground model.
The project was intended to give a group of summer school children an opportunity to get creative and design a
playground and the winner would get $100, and his or her design would be used in future print materials
advertising the KaBOOM! project.
And although the Delta Bridge Project people who are funding the project and the Clarksdale Revitalization, Inc.
people who are managing the project expected to sift through a pile of drawings or colorings, it was a large, threedimensional clay model that won the day Friday.
July 10th, 2012
Lois Erwin, the director of the Delta Bridge Project, said she’s hopeful that a Southern Bancorp offer to match
donations will bump up community support for a KaBOOM! playground project that must find funding by this fall.
The KaBOOM! project would, if it is funded, erect a state of the art playground in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Sunflower Avenue. The playground, which will be designed by
Landscape Structures, will feature an Evos design, a patented design that is targeted at kids ages 5-12. The Evosdesigns are notable for their bright colors and odd shapes and configurations, which lack entry and exit points. The designs are meant to, according to the company website, “flex kids’ mental and physical muscles.”
Beginning at the last week of June, Southern Bancorp has agreed to pledge $3 for every $1 donated to the project.Erwin said that so far public donations have come close to $3,000, including $707 that she raised a week ago at the public announcement of the bridge project’s strategic plan. Erwin said that the money donated to the playground project will go toward that project alone and not toward a proposed stage that will be built in the same park, although the play area was chosen for its proximity to the proposed stage.
July 5th, 2012
Beginning with its inception and formation of a steering committee at the beginning of 2010, the Coahoma County
Initiative was officially named the Delta Bridge Project (DBP) for Coahoma County. After the closing of Delta
Wire, a grassroots initiative began in the area with community leaders and citizens voicing their concerns for the future of Clarksdale in roundtable discussions.
A community kickoff event was held on October 12, 2010 at the Pinnacle on the campus of Coahoma Community
College and was billed as the beginning of change in Coahoma County and seen as, “the greatest opportunity for
the people (of Coahoma County) to make changes for the better,” according to the DBJ’s Senior Community
Development Officer, Lois Erwin.
President of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, Joe Black, gave those in attendance a look into a similar
project happening in neighboring Phillips County, Ark., explaining that at that time “350 dilapidated structures
have been demolished, a 25-unit apartment complex had been completed, a sweet potato distribution plant had
been created, development of a bio-diesel manufacturing facility had begun and that large growth had been
experienced within the local Boys and Girls Club that had helped reach out to more than 500 youth.”
June 28th, 2012
The Delta Bridge Project, a community development initiative that will invest millions of dollars into community
development, is set to release its strategic plan Monday.
Thousands of copies will be available, and Lois Erwin, DBP director, is inviting the whole community to come out
and grab a copy and see what project could be funded. She said the launch is in part a celebration of nearly two
years of committed cooperation between the community and their corporate partner, Southern Bancorp.
The community will also get a chance to see how the project aims to transform the community over the next
The DBP project kicked off in October 2010 and, Erwin said, spent much of 2011 broken into seven goal teams
centered around education, health care, housing, and leadership and economic development, which was further
broken into three area-specific teams. Those teams included members of the public, business leaders and
community leaders. In total, Erwin estimates that 600 residents contributed to the process over the past year.