Main Street doles out awards for 'revitalizing downtown'

TUPELO – Downtown Tupelo businesses and volunteers were honored this week for their efforts in revitalizing downtown and enhancing the visitor experience.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association gave out 15 awards at its annual meeting Tuesday morning. Each award was a miniature version of the 6-foot metal guitars that will be painted by schools and displayed downtown.
Another 24 events and downtown fixtures were honored as examples of sustaining and enhancing the downtown experience.
Park Heights and the Grill at Fairpark took home the award for the Main Street Business of the Year.
Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg said the businesses stood out because they “have stepped up to the plate in support of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association and the Elvis Festival.”
“Blair and Bernard have become actively involved in the association, sharing their experience and being great corporate citizens,” Brangenberg said. “Not only have they shared their experience and ideas, but their profits as well. The Grill generously donated proceeds from their premier opening to the association and Park Heights planned a special dinner on the roof during the Elvis Festival this year with a portion of the proceeds coming to the festival.”
Blair Hughes owns Park Heights. The Grill is owned by Bernard Bean, John Bean and Pat Campeau.
Brangenberg and DTMSA Board President Camille Sloan honored several other businesses, including Beauty Motif, Papa V’s, Coldwell Banker Tommy Morgan Realtors and JBHM Architects.
Along with the businesses, volunteers also got a pat on the back.
Brangenberg said each year, more than 100 volunteers donate at least 3,000 hours in committee work, events and on the board.
“It is only fitting today to recognize these people for their community spirit and for their hard work,” she said at the meeting. “Every volunteer to any program is important. Every volunteer brings talents to the table.”
Shipman Sloan was singled out for his efforts and honored with the 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award. Brangenberg said Sloan first stood out for his efforts during the 2008 Tupelo Elvis Festival.
“Working on the site team, he never faltered,” she said. “He watched, learned, suggested and became a part of the team before the week was out.”
In 2009, he was on the Down on Main committee and co-chaired the Chili Festival, which Brangenberg said was the “most successful Chili Fest we have ever had.”
“He is interested in all things urban and our downtown,” Brangenberg said. “He sees a vision and wants to be a part of making it happen.”

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio