By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis was surprised Saturday at the Comm- unities Forward Festival when the new stage at Gum Tree Park was unveiled and her name was on it.
“It’s a real honor,” she said. “They shocked me this time. I had been trying to peek under there to see what (the stage) said but I couldn’t see it. I guess they felt I had worked hard. When I first got on the city council I met with Don (Lewis) and asked him if we could do something to upgrade this park.”
The new Nettie Davis Stage is part of the renovations made to Gum Tree Park on Front Street in Tupelo. It is built at the bottom of a hill and designed to be part of an amphitheater used to host live music.
“Mrs. Davis was instrumental in helping us plan for and get funding for Gum Tree Park,” said Don Lewis, director of Tupelo Parks and Recreation. “She has worked with me for eight years to help design and change the look of the park.”
The park is still waiting for a playground to be installed and walking trails to be finished.
“The park is important for two reasons,” Lewis said. “It is getting a lot of use and it was getting hard to accommodate that use as far as parking is concerned.”
Davis said the second reason is the visibility of the park.
“I felt like this park was located in one of the main arteries of Tupelo, where people come into work everyday,” she said. “It needed some work on it to draw more interest in the community.”
Lewis said since it is the first park many people see when they enter Tupelo off of Highway 45, they want it to look nice because it will represent the rest of the city’s parks to many visitors.
The dedication was one part of the Communities Forward Festival, which also featured a parade, live entertainment, refreshments, kids bouncers, a basketball tournament and a barbecue cookoff.