Incoming TRA head says he'll emphasize marketing

By Carlie Kollath
Daily Journal

TUPELO – John Oxford, the former chairman of the city's Quality of Life Task Force, will step in Thursday to fill the void of Chris Rogers' resignation as chairman of the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency, the organization tasked with revitalizing the former downtown fairgrounds area.

Oxford, Renasant's director of external affairs, said his priority will be to market the district.

“Chris deserves more credit than I think anyone can give him for Fairpark, especially with him being a citizen volunteer … Chris and the original TRA members really took this thing from the ground with nothing and created a product,” he said. “The heavy lifting has been done. Now we need to re-energize the marketing of Fairpark.”

Oxford previously chaired the Tupelo Young Professional group. Before moving to Tupelo, he lived in several metropolitan areas and traveled internationally. His time spent in locales such as Philadelphia, London and Washington, D.C., give him a good grasp, he said, of urban mixed-used developments.

“I kind of bring a world view to Fairpark and I want to market it that way,” he said.

His primary focus will be marketing to businesses, saying he thinks the “residential will take care of itself.”

He sees location as a major strength to the district, which is located downtown and near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 45.

In addition, he said, “It's fresh. You can build what you want according to the covenants.”

His first step in marketing Fairpark, he said, will be to update the district’s Web site, www.FairparkDistrict.com. He also wants to get billboards and new print and television advertising.

“Now we have a product and it’s time to sell it,” he said.

Contact Daily Journal business reporter Carlie Kollath at 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

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