By Carlie Kollath Wells/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Officials need to launch a “live downtown” campaign, according to consultant Tripp Muldrow.
Muldrow told the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency board earlier this month that the Fairpark area especially needs more marketing to sell lots.
His recommendations are part of work he’s doing for the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association. He held three focus groups in August to gather information about downtown housing.
His top recommendation is for Main Street and TRA, which governs the development of Fairpark, to launch a “Live Downtown” marketing campaign.
“If you aren’t telling your story, someone else is going to do it,” he said. “You have a pretty good story to tell. … Main Street’s website has a good listing of what’s available, but you aren’t advertising.”
He suggested getting real estate agents and current downtown residents to help promote living downtown.
“They are proud to live in the city and to live downtown,” he said. “They will tell you the reasons they live in the city.”
He also found the need for a wider range of prices downtown.
“There is a market in the lower price brackets,” he told the board. “The under-$150,000 range is moving.”
Plus, he suggested adding smaller, ready-to-move-in cottages in Fairpark.
The board also looked at several models for spurring residential growth. Muldrow gave the example of Baltimore, which in the 1970s sold dilapidated lots for $1. The buyer had to build a house within a year or he/she would have to give the land back.
TRA Chairman John Oxford welcomed the recommendations, and the board on Dec. 6 is scheduled to discuss marketing and housing ideas.
“We really need to kickstart some inventory downtown,” Oxford said. “We’ve got to get some more builders interested in putting some shovels in the ground down there.”