By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Elvis Presley Birthplace leaders broke ground Monday on an event center and theater that they hope will help double the visitor count over the next five years.
The new building will house a 135-seat theater, reception hall, meeting room, gallery space, snack area, offices, bathrooms and storage space.
The current gift shop also will be expanded.
“It’s important to continue to refresh and build to it so we continue to be a destination,” said Henry Dodge, chairman of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation board. “So many people benefit from it.”
The event center and the other construction projects are phase one of a $5 million to $6 million expansion planned by the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation board. The projects are partially funded by a $2.8 tourism bond bill approved by the state last year.
The City of Tupelo, the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Carpenter Foundation and the foundation are providing the 20 percent match of $560,000.
Read more in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.