June 4th, 2012
With the acceptance of a $4,000 check and a handshake between a local small business owner and loan officer Nathaniel Owen on March 20, Scottie Smith became the first loan recipient from Accion’s Phillips County office in Helena. Mindy Maupin of Southern Bancorp’s Community Partners referred Smith to Accion.
Smith’s love of the outdoors and his fondness for yard work led him to establish his own handyman and lawn service, which he says he does “well.” He used the loan to buy a work truck. Key to his success as a small business owner, Smith hopes the loan also will establish a payment record that will help him reestablish his credit.
June 2nd, 2012
A group of Blytheville community leaders traveled Thursday to Helena-West Helena to meet with representatives of Southern Bancorp’s Delta Bridge Project and tour the project’s progress in Phillips County. Also present were members of the board of the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, which plans to contribute to the funding of the project’s efforts in Mississippi County.
The King Foundation funds community betterment programs in Texas, Arkansas and the Delta region, and will be lending financial support to the strategic planning phase of Delta Bridge in Mississippi County, which is slated to kick off in July. Board members met with Southern Bancorp’s Joe Black and MissCo leaders to discuss the demographics and particular merits of the county, and to get an idea of its particular problems and ways that the Delta Bridge Project may be able to address them.
The group also saw a presentation on the success of the project in Phillips County, and toured some of the sites in Helena-West Helena where improvement projects are ongoing or have been completed.
May 31st, 2012
Next Friday, June 8, is the date for the next Live on the Levee concert series in historic downtown Helena. The concert series is a partnership between King Biscuit Blues Festival, Sonny Boy Blues Society and the Delta Bridge Project. The concert features music by Super Chikan and Front and Beale, Memphis-based band with a repertoire of music from Katy Perry to Donna Summer to Otis Redding.
The concert will be held at the Cherry Street Pavilion in historic downtown Helena from 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased atwww.KingBiscuitFestival.com or at the gate. Food, beverages and merchandise will be available for purchase at the event.
May 29th, 2012
Joe Black of Southern Bancorp’s Delta Bridge Project spoke last week at the regular meeting of Mississippi County mayors about the project’s plans for the area.
Giving a little more detail and insight into the project’s plans than in previous meetings, Black said the project organizer have been studying Mississippi County for the past three months, and have decided to initiate the first phase of improvement, if community members were willing to engage with them.
The project, which works to build lasting improvements in Delta communities, is based on five “pillars of development” — education, housing, leadership development, health care and economic development. Black told the group that in previous communities, the project has affected a noticeable turnaround. In Phillips county, Delta Bridge developed a bio-diesel plant, built new housing and created a Boys and Girls Club that now serves more than 500 kids. Black added that because of the number of kids served, that county’s teen pregnancy rates have dropped and school performance has gone up.
“Once we come into a community,” he said, “we don’t want to see small ‘pet’ projects. We are here to transform.”
May 22nd, 2012
After two years and some inevitable development hurdles, Greenbrier Partners LLC’s mixed-use development at 436 S. Front St. is quickly taking shape.
Construction began recently on the more-than-a-century-old warehouse at the corner of South Front Street and East Nettleton Avenue, after partial demolition commenced last July.
The $2.5 million development entails a three-story, 29,000-square-foot building with 5,500 square feet of retail space, 25 apartment units (19 one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms) and 25 underground parking spaces.
Greenbrier filed a $2.1 million loan through Southern Bancorp Bank in September 2010 to build at the site, which is part of a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with the Memphis Center City Revenue Finance Corp.