Main Street improvements in Tupelo

The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association is exploring options that could return Main Street to the tree-lined boulevard it once was.
The association is working on a master plan for the landscaping, or “streetscaping,” of downtown. It’s using some of the $80,000 profit from the 2008 Elvis Presley Festival to fund the project.
The streetscape’s goal is to encourage more pedestrian traffic. DTMSA Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg said a master plan was last done in the early 1970s.
This week, board members got a peek at two conceptual drawings of what it might look like “in a perfect world,” Brangenberg said.
The plans, designed by Tupelo-based Landscape Services, depict tree-filled medians in Main Street. They also show a decorative paver medallion in the center of road intersections, along with decorative pavers along crosswalks and at street corners.
The master plan also showcases a tree-filled park at the southeast corner of Main Street and Front Street, bordered on the east by the railroad tracks.

Inspiration
Brangenberg said the new streetscape concept was heavily influenced by old postcards that show a shady, tree-lined Main Street.
She stressed that the conceptual drawings are preliminary and are meant as a “vision for the future.” They also don’t include a budget right now, she said.
Ellen Harrison with Landscape Services added that the concepts currently are being revised and updated with additional site information and design requirements.
“With that being said, the overall design intent represented on the drawings will remain the same,” Harrison said.
For example, Brangenberg said the plans “put the boulevard back in Main Street,” but they aren’t sure if the street is wide enough for the medians. More data has to be gathered, she said.
Brangenberg said residents shouldn’t expect to see a transformation overnight. Improvements will be done in layers, she said, as money becomes available.
She said Main Street chose to spend the money on a master plan instead of an immediate, tangible improvement because the organization wanted to focus on the big picture, instead of “putting a pot here and bench there.”
“We wanted to do something that could be replicated on every street downtown,” Brangenberg said.

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

Carlie Kollath/Daily Journal