Tupelo council places historic preservation on study agenda

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A proposed historic preservation ordinance likely will become the focus of the City Council in a couple of weeks.

The ordinance popped up on the council's study agenda released Friday afternoon. Council President Danny Barrows placed it there.

Some discussion is expected Monday during a pre-council meeting at 4 p.m. in City Hall.

Last week, about 200 people gathered in the auditorium of Church Street Elementary School to learn more about historic preservation and specifically what it would take to create a Local Certified Government program community.

Such a designation would allow the community to work with the state to identify and market historical areas and properties.

At that time, Desha Cruse, one of several city residents leading the effort, told City Council members at the meeting they were coming with a proposal.

But Barrows beat them to it. Late last week Barrows said Guy Mitchell, the city's attorney, is working on an ordinance. “And we'll have a work session with members of this committee to discuss it,” Barrows said.

During last week's meeting, Mayor Larry Otis told the audience that the city had tried eight years ago to become at CLG but failed because the council couldn't agree on an ordinance.

Barrows bristled at Otis' account.

“That's not true,” said Barrows, who is running against Otis in upcoming municipal elections for mayor. “It was three years ago and because the administration wouldn't support it.”

Recalls discussions

Carolyn Mauldin, a candidate for at-large council seat, sat on the Oren Dunn Museum committee at that time and recalled the meetings held to push the effort to identify and market historical areas and properties in the city.

“We just couldn't seem to get the support of the administration,” Mauldin said. “This has been tried several times in Tupelo but never to the extent it has this time or last time.”

The council, she said, supported the effort three years ago, as did some of the Lee County leadership.

Becoming a CLG allows a community to protect the original integrity of historically significant properties in the area. But getting designation takes partnerships and cooperation, said Todd Sanders, a local government assistance coordinator with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Forty communities in the state have the designation. Only Louisiana, with 43, has more CLGs than Mississippi among surrounding states.

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

Pre-council meeting, 4 p.m. Monday

Pre-council meeting, 4 p.m. Monday

Council meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday

Both at city council chambers, second floor, City Hall