By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – The banners are up in the newly christened Midtown District, which hosted a holiday open house Thursday.
Mayor Jason Shelton officially welcomed the addition of the district, saying it went hand-in-hand with his campaign platform of neighborhood building.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that this group of private businesses have come together and made this happen,” he said. “This type of forward thinking is a good example of the Tupelo spirit.”
Retailers in the district wanted to create an identity of their own – as downtown Tupelo and the Barnes Crossing area have done – and developed the Midtown District.
Shelton said no public money was used, as the effort was privately driven. However, he said he “fully supported” their efforts to be a community within a community.
Larry Wade of Danver’s said the restaurant’s including in the Midtown District made sense.
The 36-year-old restaurant has been a staple at the corner of Industrial Road and West Main Street, and Wade said working together with other businesses in the area was mutually beneficial.
“There’s a lot of traffic, a lot of people driving through every day,” he said. “We’re in a good location, and working as a group helps everyone.”
Rosemary Gaines, the owner of Jody’s, said she’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from customers about the “new” Midtown District.
“They have taken to the idea very well,” she said. “Now our next step is to decide how far the district extends.”
The district informally comprises the stores along Industrial Road and bordered by Varsity Drive, West Main and South Gloster streets.