COLUMN: South Gloster looking for some love

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Valentine’s Day was last week, but businesses on South Gloster Street in Tupelo are still looking for a little love.
And Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell hopes to play Cupid.
On Friday, Newell is hosting a meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Gloster Creek Village center court, where he hopes anybody and everybody with ties to the area will attend.
“We want to determine the interest in trying to redevelop the South Gloster Association,” Newell said. “The first thing is to get all the businesses on South Gloster to buy into it as a group and organize.”
You may remember that a similar attempt was made a few years ago to promote the area.
The “South Gloster is Alive!” campaign launched, and businesses along the route met several times. But the effort had no strong advocate in City Hall, and the program went into a sleep mode of sorts.
But Newell has high hopes that this time will be different.
With a five-laning of a big portion of South Gloster on its way, plus Highway 6 coming through in the next couple of years, the area is poised for growth, Newell said.
Newell has sent letters to about 60 businesses along South Gloster, all of them CDF members. He knows that not all businesses are members of the CDF and wants the non-members to know that they aren’t being left out of the process.
“My list was far from complete, and I had to start somewhere” he said. “But everyone is invited, and we want as many people as we can to attend.”
Newell said many businesses along South Gloster feel left out of the city’s economic development discussions. Among them is Rudy Dossett Jr. of Dossett Big 4.
Dossett said the Barnes Crossing area, downtown Tupelo and west Tupelo get the bulk of the attention, and it’s time that the businesses south of Crosstown get their share.
“I’d like to see South Gloster get its due,” he said. “Let’s be fair.”
Newell said he’d like the area to form its own association, perhaps modeled after the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, that will push the wants and needs of the area.
“Maybe we’ll have a Web site, or some electronic newsletter – there are lots of things we can do, and we want to bring that up at the meeting,” he said.
But talking about it and getting commitments are two different things. Newell hopes South Gloster businesses will work together and look ahead to the future. And he says that while he’s a strong advocate for the area, he can’t do it alone.
“I can steer it, I can get the ball rolling, but we have to get everybody we can committed to do this,” he said.
Council members Nettie Davis and Jonny Davis have been invited to the meeting since portions of their wards are in the South Gloster area. Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and CDF President and CEO David Rumbarger are invited, too, Newell said.
“We’re a viable part of the city,” Newell said. “And for a city to be viable as a whole, every part has to be viable, not just quadrants.”

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.