Groups join for Fairpark entertainment study

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Five Tupelo groups have partnered to fund a market analysis, with the goal of building an entertainment venue in the Fairpark District.
The Tupelo Redevelopment Agency on Monday said it formed a partnership with the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Coliseum Commission, the Community Development Foundation and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
The agencies, according to TRA Chairman John Oxford, will pitch in to pay $84,000 to Hunden Strategic Partners of Chicago.
The analysis will focus on what will work best for Tupelo, he said. Ideas in recent years include a concert hall, movie theater, entertainment venue with a restaurant and Branson-style entertainment.
“We’re letting them tell us,” Oxford said. “They’ve done this before.”
The study also will focus on a feasible price point and what would be attractive to developers. Rob Hunden, president of HSP, will lead the study and has visited with the group on several occasions, Oxford said.
The agencies’ participation is contingent on individual board approval.
The CVB board on Monday approved spending up to $30,000. The Coliseum Commission is slated to chip in $30,000, as well. TRA and CDF unofficially have committed $11,000 each. Main Street unofficially has committed $2,000.
“All of us feel the economy is starting to turn, starting to thaw,” he said.
Oxford said the study will take three to four months to complete. He also said the it will incorporate previous studies.
“By combining our efforts, we limit the risk of paying for projects that overlap and we increase our chances of putting together a plan that can really make a difference,” said Scott Reed, chairman of the Coliseum Commission.
carlie.kollath@journalinc.com