EDITORIAL: Mid-sized venue

An intentional and energetic public conversation Monday among city officials, civic leaders and the executive management of several organizations focused on full economic development for Tupelo centered on the possibilities involved in a mid-sized entertainment venue and, possibly, an entertainment district near and/or encircling the BancorpSouth Arena.
The conversations should go forward with an open mind.
Scott Reed, chairman of the Tupelo Coliseum Commission and a private-sector financial services executive, said Tupelo needs a venue smaller than the 8,000-seat arena, one designed for frequent professional use and to complement existing facilities.
“We could book a lot more shows here if we had a place with 800 to 1,500 seats and that does not have the restrictions on use” that apply to two other frequently used spaces, the Tupelo Civic Auditorium and the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center, both owned by the school district.
Reed and others envision a venue that could be linked programmatically and functionally with the arena and the free-standing BancorpSouth Conference Center.
Reed mentioned specifically musicians like John Prine, Mac McAnnally and Alison Krauss.
An entertainment district is a concept promoted by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who supported a bill passed in 2009 called the Entertainment District Act. It would offer accelerated depreciation for tax purposes, and it would require a $2 surcharge on tickets sold at venues within the district.
Hosemann’s proposals and the growing interest in a mid-sized, professional entertainment venue in Tupelo developed separately, but they might be complementary.
We encourage additional discussions and innovative thinking.

NEMS Daily Journal

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