Downtown focuses on historic appeal

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Downtown Tupelo leaders are being more proactive about guiding the look of buildings in the Main Street area.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association is reworking its design guidelines for building facades.
“As the design committee, we want to make downtown a nice place to be and we’re tasked with the physical attributes,” said committee chairman Brandon Bishop.
The group is writing guidelines that it hopes will be adopted as an attachment to the city’s new development code.
Bishop’s mum on what the new design guidelines will be, expressing concerns about talking about them before they are approved.
Until the new design guidelines are written, the group uses its 1994 guidelines. The guidelines, according to Bishop, call for all downtown building owners and renters to get permission from the design committee before any exterior changes can be made.
Approval from the committee is required before the city will issue permits for changes in the central business district, said David Wammack, the city’s chief building inspector and a member of the downtown design committee.
Permission is needed for “any sort of major renovation,” Wammack said, including awnings, signs, doors, windows, storefronts or additions.
“Anything that alters the appearance of the building,” Wammack said.
Bishop said the committee’s goal is to return the historic look to downtown Tupelo. He said he’s more concerned about getting the right look for the building than he is about specific materials.
For example, the new storefront next to Tupelo Hardware has a metal frame for its display windows. Historically, the material would have been wood, but Bishop cites the storefront as a good example of building design.
“The important thing to keep in mind – look left and look right. What are your neighbors doing? You don’t want to do anything widely different from them,” Bishop said.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@journalinc.com.