Council gives nod for Main Street project

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo City Council is moving forward with an improvement project for Main Street in downtown Tupelo, but it has not approved a specific plan.
The vote comes a year after the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, with help from the Community Development Foundation, began a master plan for the downtown area.
The goals include making Main Street more pedestrian friendly, improving the efficiency of traffic, reducing the speed of traffic and making Main Street more attractive.
According to council President Fred Pitts, the vote on Tuesday only registered the project with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and gets the city “in line if money becomes available.”
“We have not approved to do anything on Main Street,” Pitts said.
However, the City Council’s actions allow the Main Street Association access to up to $65,000 for the design and engineering phase, which includes hiring engineering and design professionals to develop a plan, getting cost projections and creating construction documents.
Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Main Street Association, said her group already has spent about $10,000 hiring engineers and consultants to do initial renderings and traffic studies for downtown Tupelo.
Several options were presented to the association, CDF and members of the city’s development services department.
The most favored plan includes additional sidewalk landscaping, lighting and synchronized traffic lights. It also would mean the restriping of a three-block section of Main Street to be two lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes and parallel parking on both sides.
Brangenberg said the plan has not been approved by the Main Street board and still is being formulated.
Pitts said the City Council also will have to approve the final plan. He added that constituents have expressed concerns to him about the impact on traffic flow.
As part of the current engineering and planning phase, the Main Street Association and the city will do a traffic test on a downtown section of Main Street.

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