By Emily Le Coz | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo captured its fourth All-America City designation in June after an intense competition among 26 finalists for one of 10 coveted awards.
It was seen as a huge coup and an asset that the city can use to market itself to potential businesses, industries and families wishing to locate in Northeast Mississippi’s largest community.
“It’s a positive recognition for a city on a national level,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. “It’s something to be proud of.”
The National League of Cities has awarded designations every year since 1949 to cities that have creatively solved problems using public, private, nonprofit and grassroots civic engagement.
Tupelo had previously won in 1967, 1989 and 1999.
For its 2011 entry, the city described how it solved three community challenges: the revitalization of its former fairgrounds into downtown’s new Fairpark District, the innovative care of senior citizens at the Green Houses at Traceway, and the tackling of childhood obesity and learning problems through the Mayor’s Task Forces on Education, Youth and Health.
Tupelo was among dozens of cities that entered the competition and was among a handful of finalists to give presentations in Kansas City, Mo.
With its fourth win, the city joins an elite cadre of 13 communities nationwide with more than three wins to their names – seven have won four times; six have won five times. Tupelo is the only city in Mississippi to have won multiple times. Other state communities with a prior win are Meridian in 1988 and Hattiesburg in 1991.
“Tupelo’s a Deep South town,” Reed said. “At our best, we do things together, and this award will certainly encourage us to keep doing our best.”