Group seeks funds for farmers market

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – What will $100,000 buy?

For Debbie Brangenberg, the director of Downtown Tupelo/Main Street Association, the cash would go a long way toward the purchase of the Gravlee Lumber Co. building. At least that was her request to the Lee County Board of Supervisors during a recent budget hearing.

Supervisors didn't give an answer but thanked the Downtown Association director for her time.

The downtown association wants to see the Gravlee building adapted into a year-round Tupelo Farmers Market. Just a couple of months ago, members of the House of Representatives put $250,000 for the purchase in a bond bill.

That's the same bond bill Gov. Haley Barbour tagged “pork-barrel politics” before the Senate killed it.

Said Brangenberg of the legislative wish, “We're going to have to revisit that plan.”

The association operates a 5-year-old farmers market on Spring Street. It's open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from mid-May until late October. All the vendors' slots under the pavilion stay booked. More people want room. The nearby 23,000-square-foot Gravlee building would give it to them.

Brangenberg's group has sought money from several sources, including Nick Walters, USDA Rural Development state director, who has offered to help the city and the Downtown Association apply for a rural Business Enterprise Grant of up to $500,000 to buy and renovate the structure.

Contact Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or leesha.faulkner@djournal.com

By the numbers:

Downtown Tupelo/Main Street Association

Current budget: $7,500

Year-to-date balance: $100

Requested budget: $12,000

Increase: $4,500

One-time capital request: $100,000