Fairpark agency to focus on generating activity

TUPELO – The board members of the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency are investigating the possibility of building a home in Fairpark themselves to generate activity in the downtown district.
Members of the agency, a city-created volunteer committee in charge of overseeing Fairpark, met Thursday with Memphis consultant Tony Bologna to discuss the future of Fairpark and to prioritize activities.
The most important thing, Bologna and members said, is to create activity in Fairpark.
Many ideas were suggested at the 21/2-hour meeting, but in the end, members voted to look into building a house in the current residential area. The tentative idea calls for TRA to fund the construction of a home that would later be sold.
The goal of the project, Bologna said, is to create activity in Fairpark and to show the public an example of what TRA considers to be good design for the district.
Board member Tim Prewitt, a construction administrator at JBHM Architects, volunteered his time and services to oversee the construction.
“I know I’ll do it right because I want to sell some stuff out there,” Prewitt said. “We’ve got to have the job so the buyers, when they walk up, they say, ‘I can’t get this anywhere else and I want this.’”
TRA members are going to flesh out details about the location, home design, price and logistics before deciding whether to move forward with the project.
TRA members also discussed the need to make current residents and property owners happy. One of the suggested ways was to create a residential association for Fairpark.
Efforts have been unsuccessful in the past to create a joint residential and commercial association. The association would govern the district and be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of Fairpark, which would be funded through membership dues.
Thursday, members said the creation of a residential association is a priority and asked Bologna and Debbie Brangenberg, the city liaison to TRA and the executive director of Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, to see what the next steps are.
The members also discussed landscaping in Fairpark. They talked about the need for more trees and for grass that won’t look bad when it gets tall.
In the end, members settled on the idea of planting trees around the perimeter of the residential area in Fairpark. No official action was taken to pursue the project, but members identified it as a something they would like to get more information about, such as tree varieties and costs.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal