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CEDA - Category II Winner

Pearl River Interpretive Plaza

February 2, 2017

Columbia, Mississippi – The Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) announced that the Pearl River Interpretive Plaza won the 2016 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) on February 2, 2017.

The CEDA program is a “Best Practices” program intended to recognize exceptional contributions of communities in the State of Mississippi for the following efforts: business retention & expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement.

The City of Columbia created a unique plaza as a showcase connector between its Main Street District and Bluff Street Park overlooking the Pearl River. What was the muddy dirt pad of an artesian well is now home to an innovative educational and cultural/heritage attraction.  The Pearl River Interpretive Plaza contains a scale model of the entire Pearl River Basin from its source to the Gulf of Mexico.  Water from a historical artesian well, the first source of both water and electricity for the City, which was first settled along the banks of the Pearl, flows through the model.  The plaza’s design shows the counties through which the Pearl meanders and significant landmarks along it.  In the Plaza’s Gulf of Mexico, a portion of the water is recycled for irrigation of the landscaping. This environmentally conscientious engineering challenge uses native trees and plants to provide shade and enhance the plaza’s ambiance.  The plaza connects Columbia’s downtown traffic thoroughfare to a beautiful view of the actual Pearl River and connects its visitors to Columbia’s story.

The City of Columbia and its funding partners, MDOT, Pearl River Basin Development District, Mississippi Power, Marion County Development Partnership and Parkway Pipeline brought the project from idea to reality.  The original idea was conceived through a Mississippi Development Authority First Impressions study for developing creative uses for under-performing assets.  


To learn more about the Pearl River Interpretive Plaza, please contact:

The Honorable Robert Bourne, Mayor, City of Columbia
201 Second Street
Columbia, MS 39429
Phone: (601)736-8201

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