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OUR OPINION: Tupelo's Main Street deserves national attention

Northeast Daily Journal

 

Tupelo’s Main Street is in the national spotlight after being recently named one of the top 10 semifinalists for the Great American Main Street Award.

 

Being a finalist for such a prestigious national award speaks volumes to the tremendous transformation that’s taken place on Tupelo’s Main Street over the last few years and the tireless efforts from a number of community leaders who have spearheaded those projects.

 

Each year, the National Main Street Center recognizes what it deems exceptional Main Street communities whose successes serve as a model for comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization with the Great American Main Street Award. Since the award’s inception in 1995, more than 90 Main Street programs have been honored.

 

Two Mississippi communities have won the award previously: Ocean Springs in 2013 and Columbus in 2010.

 

According to Main Street America, GAMSA winners “represent the diversity of communities in the Main Street America network – small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts from every region in the country.

 

Winners will be recognized next spring at the Main Street Now Conference.

 

Selection criteria for the award are:

 

• Overall strength of the Main Street program and documented success in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit

 

• Demonstrated impact aligning with the Main Street Approach

 

• Commitment to historic preservation

 

• Active involvement of the public and private sector

 

• Model partnerships, including inclusive engagement of community members and local stakeholders in the downtown revitalization process.

 

Tupelo’s Main Street is a perfect representation of all those items and is one of many throughout the region that, at the hands of some visionary leaders, have truly turned around communities.

 

No doubt one of the focal points for Tupelo’s inclusion in this national award is the work on the Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail, a project that spanned 11 years and took a community-wide effort to accomplish.

 

The $11.5-million project was funded by the City of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program and a $2.3-million transportation enhancement grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Apart from its primary mission of connecting downtown Tupelo to the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the project also sought to transform portions of Main Street into a more pedestrian-friendly area with the hopes of increasing commerce for retail businesses and restaurants.

 

Main Streets are still very much the lifeblood of a number of communities across Northeast Mississippi and that couldn’t be more true in Tupelo.

 

Just about every day of the week, Tupelo’s Main Street is buzzing with residents and visitors alike taking in the sights, shopping and dining at the several restaurant options available. There are many communities across the country that would stand envious of such a well-kept and active Main Street.

 

We applaud the work that’s been done by so many to transform Tupelo’s Main Street. Being a semifinalist for a national award of this stature only reaffirms the work that’s been done and should give leaders a new energy to continue pressing forward.


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Ocean Springs, a town with a reputation as an “arts community” has several art galleries and was hometown to the late Walter Inglis Anderson, a nationally renowned painter and muralist.

Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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Mississippi Main Street is a program of the National Main Street
Center and the Mississippi Development Authority