Tupelo hosts free neighborhood event

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A first-of-its-kind event Saturday will assemble hundreds of residents from 15 different associations to one common cause: vibrant neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Connections, a two-hour event at the BancorpSouth Arena, is the brainchild of the Mayor’s Task Force on Neighborhoods.
The volunteer group appointed by Mayor Jack Reed Jr. will use the forum to celebrate past achievements by neighborhood associations and announce a new incentive to promote further efforts.
“It’s a way to recognize, renew and reward the work the neighborhoods do and will be doing in the future,” said Bob Schwartz, a task force member. “And it’s to encourage even more neighborhoods to be involved and to do more.”
At least 250 people are expected at the event, and everyone will have the chance to win dozens of prizes donated by area merchants and individuals.
The neighborhood association with the largest turnout among its members will win the grand prize – a barbecue prepared and served by Mayor Jack Reed Jr., his wife and members of the City Council.
The number of officially recognized neighborhood associations in Tupelo has grown over the years to 15. Together, they represent some 20,000 people – more than half of the city’s population.
Although Tupelo already has grants for neighborhood associations, more money will be made available through the new Neighborhood Impact Awards Program.
“We’ll be talking about the steps that a neighborhood association would complete in order to qualify to receive the award,” said Rubye Del Harden, who chairs the task force.
In addition to announcing the new program, event organizers will share tips about neighborhood projects and facilitate connections among different groups.
The city supports the task force’s efforts to unify and strengthen neighborhood associations, said BJ Teal, director of the Tupelo Development Services Department.
“I think the Neighborhood Connections will perhaps encourage other neighborhoods to begin their own associations so we can give them the tools and the opportunity to pursue their vision,” Teal said. “I feel like the Mayor’s Task Force on Neighborhoods was such a blessing. It helps fly what we want to do.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Tupelo residents are invited to attend a free event promoting strong and vibrant neighborhoods.
What: Neighborhood Connections
When: 9-11 a.m. (Registration at 8:30 a.m.)
Where: BancorpSouth Arena
Who: Sponsored by the Mayor’s Task Force on Neighborhoods and open to all Tupelo residents
The city will announce a new awards program to encourage beautification and enhancement.