I.T. Montgomery was the first mayor of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, which was historically settled as an all-African American town in 1887.  Built in 1910, his former home and its grounds were an important community center as well as a venue for the entertainment of important political figures, most notably Booker T. Washington.  The home was used for various purposes following Montgomery’s death but has fallen into disrepair, landing it on Mississippi Heritage Trust’s “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi” list in 2013.  The Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a local nonprofit, currently own the house and see its redevelopment as a catalyst for revitalization and economic development within the community.

Mississippi Heritage Trust received a grant from the National Park Service to begin a community engagement process in the City of Mound Bayou with the redevelopment of the historic Isaiah T. Montgomery House as the central focus.  Gulf Coast Community Design Studio was brought onboard to conduct the community engagement process, consider new uses for the building (as proposed by the community) and prepare a report to evaluate the development options. 

In April 2016, stakeholders from around the state assembled in Mound Bayou to collectively participate in a Preservation Summit, where the day’s sessions were led by Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.  Experts in historic preservation and community revitalization presented and led discussions surrounding their work in historically and culturally-focused development.  Interactive sessions allowed participants to take stock of the opportunities that were available locally and regionally, discuss any challenges and brainstorm strategies to deal with these challenges.  An open house for community members was held at the end of the day to share the day’s discussions and gather feedback.

The prepared report details the presentations from the day as Case Studies, as well as documents the feedback and information gathered from the summit participants.  Gulf Coast Community Design Studio prepared schematic floorplans to illustrate multiple uses proposed for the building.  Alembic Community Development in New Orleans, Louisiana, provided consultation and a preliminary pro forma utilizing multiple streams of funding for the project including New Market Tax Credits.