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Groups pool funds to conduct study on possible entertainment district

TUPELO — Five Tupelo groups have partnered to pay for a market analysis that will target the possibility of building an entertainment venue in the Fairpark District.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency said it has joined with the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Coliseum Commission, the Community Development Foundation and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association for the study.

TRA chairman John Oxford said the groups would hire Hunden Strategic Partners of Chicago in an $84,000 contract.

The analysis will focus on what will work best for Tupelo, he said. Ideas in recent years include a concert hall, movie theater, entertainment venue with a restaurant and Branson-style entertainment.

“We’re letting them tell us,” Oxford said. “They’ve done this before.”

The study also will focus on pricing that would attract developers. HSP president Rob Hunden will lead the study, Oxford said.

The agencies’ participation is contingent on approval of their boards.

The CVB board on Monday approved spending up to $30,000. The Coliseum Commission is slated to chip in $30,000, as well. TRA and CDF unofficially have committed $11,000 each. Main Street unofficially has committed $2,000.

“All of us feel the economy is starting to turn, starting to thaw,” he said.

Oxford said the study will take three to four months to complete.

“By combining our efforts, we limit the risk of paying for projects that overlap and we increase our chances of putting together a plan that can really make a difference,” said Scott Reed, chairman of the Coliseum Commission.

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