It’s official! Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association will be the site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Project for Public Spaces’ Placemaking Demonstration Project. A team of placemakers from the Trust’s National Main Street Center and PPS will travel to Tupelo to help this community capitalize on the assets that already exist on their Main Street. The project will engage a wide range of Tupelo stakeholders, community members and the Department of Transportation to enliven its Main Street corridor, a state highway which links downtown to the birthplace of Elvis Presley and other public spaces and local destinations. This Placemaking Demonstration Project is the next step in an ongoing Placemaking partnership between the National Main Street Center and PPS.
Currently, downtown Tupelo has a number of desirable attractions but these individual elements are not integrated to create a vibrant district. Sections of wide roadways downtown alienate pedestrians and bikers, limiting multimodal mobility in the area. The outcomes of the project will focus on providing Tupelo residents and officials with new tools to create streets as places and link destinations throughout the downtown. Tupelo is but one of many American towns struggling to create a sense of Place along Main Street. Both PPS and the National Trust hope that the lessons learned from this pilot program will serve to inspire Placemaking across the country.
The heart of the project will be a 2-day Placemaking workshop centered on a four-block section of downtown Tupelo which has seen increased truck traffic, higher traffic speed, and growing concerns about pedestrian safety. Working collaboratively with Mississippi’s Department of Transportation, the project will demonstrate new opportunities to engage state DOT’s and local Main Street programs.
But the training doesn’t stop with Tupelo. To enable communities around the state to benefit from the principles presented in the 2-day training, PPS and Mississippi Main Street Association will host a Placemaking training program for managers of its 49 programs across the state. With Tupelo as a case study, the State Main Street Association as well as the local programs will be equipped to apply Placemaking principles to their own projects.
Local press is already buzzing about the announcement!