By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Tupelo City Council members likely will approve today the transfer of a city-owned West Jackson Street property to a nonprofit organization, ending direct involvement of elected leaders’ roles in day-to-day actions of neighborhood redevelopment efforts.
The Neighborhood Development Corp., comprised of mostly bankers and real estate professionals, likely will receive city-acquired property at 904 W. Jackson St., land formally bought by the city on July 3.
This begins the process of using the nonprofit organization for day-to-day actions instead of the mayor negotiating with property owners and the council approving the deal in closed session.
This is the first formal action for the NDC in the West Jackson Street area redevelopment project. During the previous administration in June, the council agreed to allow NDC to spend up to $250,000 per fiscal year to acquire property for redevelopment project. The council approved in September close to $3 million in total redevelopment funding.
City leaders have looked at improving declining and blighted neighborhoods as important to encouraging more middle-class people to move to the city and to retaining existing residents.
Ward 2 Councilman Lynn Bryan, who represents the area covered in the redevelopment project, said he appreciates this step in the process but looks forward to houses being razed.
The city plans to clear many of the properties and sell land to developers to build houses for middle-income families.
“I think progress is getting stuff torn down,” Bryan said.