We agree with Reed's approach and his intention to ask the Coliseum Commission to self-finance the study.
Reed, in an interview last week with the Daily Journal, stressed that no decisions or presumptions have been made about a new venue but that many people believe a venue smaller than the BancorpSouth Arena, if built for specialization and flexibility, could help attract top-flight entertainment professionals who draw smaller but loyal audiences.
Reed cited Mac McAnally, a Belmont native who is a popular singer-songwriter, who has sold out the 600-seat Lyric Theatre in past performances, and probably could attract a substantially larger crowd in the right kind of venue.
How much a new venue (larger than 500 seats but not more than 2,500 seats at maximum configuration) would cost is nothing more now than guessing.
BancorpSouth Center executive director Todd Hunt said similar facilities have cost from $8 million to $150 million in various cities.
Reed suggested $10 million is probably a more realistic figure and that any venue would have to be "nimble" in adaptability - from concerts to conferences.
Financing options might include private investment with tax advantages coupled with a long-term lease by the commission; bonding capacity paid with ticket surcharges; and possible exploration of bonded debt paid with some revenue from the city's tourism tax, which is part of the coliseum's debt guarantee.
Reed suggested it might be profitable as an attraction to have a professional retail recording studio in the venue, available for rental by individuals, churches, amateur bands and other musical groups.
He suggested the possibility of a public design charette. A charette is an intense design/exploration session used in many situations, especially in architecture and planning. Charettes were used in the early stages of discussing the Tupelo City Hall and its plaza, now widely used for many events, public and private.
Reed also said he is eager to talk with the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, which sponsors the annual Elvis Presley Festival, and with the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, which also has plans for an entertainment venue at its site in east Tupelo.
No decisions have been made. No formally structured discussions have happened. The issue is open to discussion, comment and suggestion.
The idea sounds plausible and possible - if supporting data justifies an effort.