Experts ID sites in need of most work

TUPELO – The experts from New York City-based Project for Public Spaces and Washington, D.C.-based National Trust Main Street Center said they were struck by the number of opportunities in downtown Tupelo.
They made the following recommendations for four destinations downtown that need the most attention, in their opinion.
1. Fairpark
• Short-term recommendations:
* Add games such as a horse shoes, croquet and miniature golf. Add team sports in the lawn.
* Bring in mobile food vendors.
* Add tables and chairs.
* Stripe crosswalks into the park.
* Add landscaping, flowers.
* Add signage to tell visitors where the space is in relation to other destinations, such as Elvis Presley Birthplace.
* Add markets (flea, art, etc).
* Long-term recommendations:
* Add restrooms.
* Add more public art.
* Add a permanent stage that’s easy for the community to use.
* Add crosswalks and safety improvements to get across the street.
* Add activity nodes in the park, such as a cafe by the playground.
2. Railroad Park
(space along the tracks near the intersection of Front and Main Streets)
* Short-term recommendations:
* Reconfigure seating.
* Experiment with traffic-calming measures.
* Improve pedestrian crosswalks.
* Add public art.
* Add a market.
• Long-term improvements:
* Make a permanent gateway that connects downtown and Fairpark.
* Add a roundabout that can serve as an iconic gateway. Think about tying in the guitar sculptures.
* Rebuild the train depot and use it for food vending and an information kiosk.
3. Tupelo Farmers’ Market
• Short-term improvements:
* Add murals and banners.
* Add and diversify the vendors. Expand the variety of products.
* Offer seating and cafe tables.
* Move parking across the street.
* Add flowers, herbs and winter greens to planters.
* Add bike parking.
* Add activities.
• Long-term improvements:
* There’s a potential for an indoor year-round market.
* Add a shared local kitchen to serve as incubators for small food businesses.
* Connect Mill Village to downtown.
4. Courthouse Square
• Short-term improvements:
* Clean the alleys.
* Add and/or fix seating.
* Improve landscaping.
* Add lighting at Carroll Park.
* Integrate the Court Street green space and outdoor dining.
• Long-term improvements:
* Reuse surrounding buildings. Example: Convert the old police building into Jailhouse Rock Cafe.
* Add wayfinding sign system.
* Add more music to the area.

CARLIE KOLLATH / NEMS Daily Journal