The Community Development Partnership received a Community Economic Development Award for the log cabin project. From left are CDP President David Vowell, Tourism Director Kaye Rowell, Park Director Chris Burt, Mayor James Young and Chamber-Main Street Director Tim Moore.
The Community Development Partnership received a Community Economic Development Award for the log cabin project. From left are CDP President David Vowell, Tourism Director Kaye Rowell, Park Director Chris Burt, Mayor James Young and Chamber-Main Street Director Tim Moore.
The Community Development Partnership was presented a state Community Economic Development Award in recognition of the historic log cabin in Northside Park, which was rebuilt last year after being destroyed in an EF-5 tornado in 2011.

The award was presented at the Mississippi Economic Development Council's 2014 winter conference in Jackson.

The CEDA honors communities throughout Mississippi for their efforts to advance their economic viability through economic and community development programs during the 2013 calendar year.

Chris Burt, parks and recreation director, accepted the award with David Vowell, president, Community Development Partnership, who nominated the project.

Over 50 people attended a short program and ribbon cutting for the new cabin last October.

The original cabin was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps for use as the public library. When the collection outgrew the building, a new library was constructed in the 1970s and the cabin was moved to the park where it served as a community meeting place and venue for birthday parties and family reunions until it was hit by the tornado.

Park officials were only able to salvage the cabin's original fireplace, chimney, floor and several logs in wake of the tornado. In addition, two of the cabin's three original wagon wheel lights were salvageable.

The $140,000 rebuilding project was made possible through the Mississippi Landmark Grant Program and a 20 percent match from the city and Park Commission.

The program is funded by interest from the abandoned property fund in the state Treasurer's office.

The state Department of Archives and History was instrumental in getting the cabin rebuilt after having it designated a Mississippi Landmark.

"Our community, including city officials, county officials, park board and park employees, local legislative members and the Department of Archives and History all banded together to gather the sources and funds necessary to salvage this facility," Vowell said in nominating the project for the award.

"It would have been so easy to take a bulldozer and clear up the site. However, because of the building's rich history and how the community utilized the facility for family reunions, birthday parties and community meetings, effort was made to save it instead," he said.

The Park Commission replaced the cabin's appliances, provided the landscaping and assisted with the expense of architects.

The City of Philadelphia provided support for clean-up.

"The restoration project was a resounding success," Vowell said. "Community members can still use the historical landmark for events and gatherings."

Mary Martha Henson, executive director, said MEDC was proud "to honor this outstanding community and the people who have been involved in the planning and implementation of this worthwhile project. We applaud their commitment to excellence in moving their communities forward."

The Mississippi Economic Development Council is an association of community and economic development and chamber of commerce professionals from across the state. MEDC members work closely with state and local government officials to improve the state's competitiveness in the pursuit of new jobs.

Programs are sponsored to educate community leaders regarding the mechanics of economic and industrial development. MEDC encourages professionalism among its members through its conference and other meetings and by awarding scholarships for courses in chamber, community and economic development.