By NEMS Daily Journal
The start of a citizens’ group in support of the South Gloster commercial district holds potential for infusing into that still-valuable and busy business neighborhood new ideas and energy that can, in effect, bring it back to – and exceed – its headiest days.
Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell spearheaded a group meeting in the Gloster Creek Village about concerns and opportunities, and we believe the organizational skill of many successful business people and civic volunteers can lead to positive impact.
South Gloster – that long thoroughfare defined by everything on Gloster Street south of Crosstown – isn’t bereft of assets and potential.
Some new-auto dealerships have departed for the Barnes Crossing area northward on the same street, some restaurants have changed hands, closed or fallen on hard times, and there’s lots of open space – but the undeveloped areas represent a potential gold mine of new ventures because other kinds of businesses also thrive on major streets.
Plus, Gloster Street in the relatively near future will gain direct access to the new Mississippi Highway 6, the four-lane corridor linking Tupelo to Oxford, Pontotoc and Oxford, and points west.
The new highway will connect with U.S. 45 at the existing South Green Street interchange, where major roadway work is already visible coming over the hill from its route through south Tupelo, connecting to the Natchez Trace and stretching westward.
New opportunities clearly are at hand.
Enthusiasm for South Gloster, like support for downtown Tupelo, should qualify for the city’s active involvement and support, including professional planning and development staff time as the organization moves forward and help is sought.
Nothing works without intentionality, and the pieces for South Gloster’s future won’t fall from the sky. Imagining a renewed and strengthened South Gloster, with stronger existing businesses and new ones, is the kind of commitment Tupelo makes with success.
Some situations may be intractable in the short term, but commitments like finishing the five-laning of South Gloster to the new interchange and Verona city limits is one obvious starting point.
The region’s largest employer, North Mississippi Medical Center, towers over most of South Gloster where it is a high-visibility address on the street. Any plans moving forward need and deserve the hospital’s interest and involvement because it is an energetic long-range planner.
In general terms, what’s good for NMMC can become good for South Gloster because thousands of people are involved with the hospital in some way every day.
Approaches for solid, long-term benefits can be seen along South Gloster’s full length.
The South Gloster movement will succeed if it is intentional and sustained.