BY CARLIE KOLLATH
TUPELO – Tupelo once again has been selected as the site for a St. Jude's Dream Home, but this time it's going downtown.
The Tupelo Redevelopment Agency voted Thursday to sell a $45,000 corner lot in Fairpark to St. Jude's for half price to use for building a dream house. The St. Jude's Dream House Giveaway is a national fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a pediatric cancer research center in Memphis.
In its last fiscal year, St. Jude's gave away 29 dream homes and plans to give away 35 in its 2009 fiscal year, according to Kristen Larkins, a senior event marketing representative.
The homes are valued between $300,000 and $400,000. Larkins, in her presentation to TRA, said Dustin Gifford Properties has applied to be the builder for the Fairpark dream home.
Larkins said while the builders are compensated, St. Jude's asks that they waive their overhead because the project is meant as a fundraiser.
After it is built, the house is raffled off. Other prizes of $1,000 are awarded, as well. The giveaway, Larkins said, is tentatively scheduled for December. Tickets are $100.
TRA Chairman Chris Rogers attributed the unanimous affirmative vote of the board to the publicity that Fairpark and downtown businesses and restaurants expect to get from the dream house. Larkins said the last dream home in Tupelo drew about 6,000 visitors.