1980-2000 Time Line
1980: North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo grows to 600 beds and earns the distinction of being the largest hospital in the state at the time.
A 10-member Charter Commission first suggests that Tupelo change its form of government from mayor/aldermen to mayor/council.
The population of Northeast Mississippi is 373,952. The population of the region’s largest city, Tupelo, is 23,905.
1982: The Tennessee Valley Authority announces it is abandoning plans to build a nuclear power plant at Yellow Creek in Tishomingo County.
New runway opens at Tupelo Airport.
1983: Tupelo is singled out in the book, “The Best Towns in America” by author Hugh Bayless.
1984: First commercial jet, a Southern Airways DC9, lands in Tupelo.
1985: The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens for traffic.
1986: First District U.S. Rep. Jamie Whitten created the Highway Safety Demonstration program in Congress which resulted in more than $90 million in additional funds for four-laning highways in north Mississippi.
1987: The AHEAD highway construction program succeeds in overriding a gubernatorial veto, paving the way for the four-laning of many highways including U.S. Highways 45 and 78 in Northeast Mississippi.
The region’s congressional delegation announces that Atlantic Research has chosen Yellow Creek in Tishomingo County as the site for a new solid rocket plant.
The first Tupelo Furniture Market is held in 30,000 square feet of rented space and drew 77 exhibitors.
The entire Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors resigns following members’ indictments in connection with Operation Pretense, a federal sting operation that uncovered kickbacks to state supervisors.
1988: Tupelo voters pass a $21 million bond issue by a 96 percent margin to finance construction of a system to pump water from the Tombigbee River, treat it and transport it 18 miles to the city. The move was necessitated by a dwindling groundwater supply which had forced the state to place a moratorium on new water connections in Tupelo.
1989: The state approves $20 million in grants for the Northeast Mississippi area to boost infrastructure around the proposed Yellow Creek rocket plant. The projects, including schools and medical facilities, eventually total $38.5 million.
Tupelo voters approve a $17 million bond issue for the purpose of constructing a new high school and expanding grade schools.
Tupelo is named an All America City for the second time by the National Civic League.
Voters in Tupelo approve changing to a mayor/council form of government by a 70 percent margin.
1990: Tupelo purchases the Downtown Mall property for $2.9 million for the purpose of constructing a 9,000-seat coliseum and convention center.
The $65 million Mall at Barnes Crossing retail development opens in Tupelo and sales tax collections come in at $32.9 million compared to $16.6 million a decade earlier.
Ground-breaking ceremonies are held for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s rocket production facility at Yellow Creek.
The population of Northeast Mississippi is 383,052. The population of Tupelo is 30,685.
1991: Construction of Tupelo’s new water supply system is completed.
Voters in Tupelo approve a special 10-mill tax to fund a five-year street improvements plan known as the Major Thoroughfare Program. In the first phase, 20 intersections are improved, including Crosstown, and Gloster Street is widened to five lanes.
1992: Jamie Whitten became the longest-serving member of the U.S. House in history surpassing the previous record set by Rep. Carl Vinson.
The Elvis Presley Museum opens adjacent to the entertainer’s birthplace in Tupelo.
The new Tupelo High School, located on Cliff Gookin Boulevard, opens for classes.
Jamie Whitten, in poor health, is removed by his colleagues from his position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
1993: The two Tupelo furniture markets merge and settle into a complex featuring over a million square feet of exhibit space.
Congress kills the advanced solid rocket motor project at Yellow Creek in Tishomingo County after spending almost $2.5 billion. Thiokol Corp. announces it will build rocket nozzles at the former rocket production site.
First administration elected under Tupelo’s new mayor/council form of government.
The Tupelo Coliseum opens.
1994: Jamie Whitten retires from Congress with 53 years of service in the House. Roger Wicker of Tupelo is elected to replace him.
Four-lane U.S. Highway 78 is completed from the Tennessee state line to the Alabama state line.
The Lee County Agri-Center is completed in Verona and hosts the first county-sponsored fair.
A major ice storm freezes activity in Northeast Mississippi, felling trees and limbs and knocking out power to more than 180,000 statewide for several days. The damage in the state was later estimated at more than $1.5 billion including $1.28 billion in timber losses.
1995: Thiokol cancels plans to build a rocket nozzle production facility at Yellow Creek. NASA announces it is turning the site over to the state along with a grant of $10 million to complete infrastructure work.
CREATE Foundation announces the establishment of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, bringing together leaders from 15 counties to assess conditions and determine strategies for regional development.
1996: Tupelo voters agree to extend a 10-mill tax to fund a second phase of the city’s Major Thoroughfare Program for the widening of West Main Street.
Another ice storm strikes Northeast Mississippi causing scattered power outages and setting a new record low temperature when the mercury dipped to 4 degrees.
1998: Alliant Techsystems announces it will build composite structures to support the Delta IV expendable launch vehicle at Yellow Creek.
Tupelo commits $22.67 million in bonds for redevelopment of old fairgrounds property downtown.
A Christmas Eve ice storm knocks out power to many during the holidays.
1999: Tupelo becomes one of the few cities to win the All America City award from the National Civic League three times.
Tupelo school district voters approve $29.5 million bond issue for new school construction.
Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough becomes the first Mississippian appointed to the three-member Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors since 1962.