This post isn’t live because we were having tech difficulties earlier. But, this is the post we typed during the meeting.
We’re live at the Downtown Tupelo Main Street board meeting. We’re inside the Carpenter room at CREATE.
The board started eating lunch at 11:30 a.m. and will start business when the members are done.
The agenda includes discussion of the long-awaited design guidelines for downtown Tupelo. These will be written guidelines for the exteriors of all commercial and residential development in the downtown overlay district (Main Street area and Fairpark).
Disclaimer: I’m typing as people are talking. There may be typos. People also have a tendency to talk at the same time, so I can’t always hear everything.
And, I’m not typing every word. Think of this more as the highlights of the meeting.
Something doesn’t make sense? Corrections? Have questions? Ask.
Board President Duke Loden calls the meeting to order at 11:58 a.m.
Special recognition from Debbie Brangenberg:
John Avila has been a board member for Main Street. He and his wife, Sherry, has been chairs of the Elvis Festival and have been volunteers for while. They are moving to Boston.
John would come and volunteer for us after working a full day at his real job.
(Giving John & Sherry a wrapped present. It’s a glass version of the Elvis guitar sculptures downtown.)
John and Sherry bought into the concept of Fairpark (first residents) and were the great residents. (Their house has been for sale for months)
When I moved to Tupelo about 10 years ago, I was not in downtown originally. When we moved to Fairpark 6 years ago, Sherry told me that she signed us up for some Main Street thing. I knew 10 people at that time. Since becoming involved in this association, I have made so many friendships. I can’t tell you how much being a member of Main Street has enriched our lives.
Thank you Main Street and all of you I’ve had a chance to get to know over the years. It will be a big hole in our heart. We’ll miss Tupelo and all the people here.
A week and a half ago, we sent out the design guidelines for your review. Hope you’ve read them because we’re going to vote on them.
Financial report from Paul Mize III:
Total assets for Main St as of Aug. 31: $200,281.81
P&L this month was relatively uneventful.
Total income: $16,465.78
Total expenses: $21,846.58
Only thing that sticks out was professional fees for our accountant. $3,179.
Net income for the month: -5,380.80
Also uneventful month for Elvis Festival. Had some more expenses come out of account.
Net ordinary income is $63,833.55.
Board approves both financial reports.
Design guidelines from Brandon Bishop:
We discussed this quite a bit at the retreat.
We need this approval so we can continue on and meet with the city. We have a tentative meeting with Pat Falkner next week to see if we can get this incorporated into the city code.
Board member Richard Tucker: If midway through the construction process the person isn’t in compliance, what does that mean?
Bishop: Since this will be part of the city code, the city becomes the enforcer.
Question: Think the city will approve it?
Bishop: They’ve been involved so I think it will be approved.
Question: What if a building is partially burned down? How does it have to be rebuilt? Does it have to be rebuilt to what it was?
Bishop: These aren’t city codes based on occupancy. These are basically what our city looks like and what our city is about. These codes deal with how much renovation there is to the outside. I’d leave it up to David Wammack with the city.
Brangenberg: This deals with exterior changes. It would bring it up to the Dept. of the Interior standards. We don’t deal with the interior. That’s the city.
Bishop: As far as fire, that’s the city’s call as far as renovation.
Jon Milstead: This document is flexible enough to give businesses and the city some flexibility.
Brangenberg: For the most part, this does not really change how we’ve been approving design criteria downtown. It just gives people more information.
Bishop: This set of design guidelines is not to make people mad. It’s not to force people to do things a certain way. It’s to make our downtown better and increase our property values. It’s to provide more information. We’re trying to be a help to people, not a hindrance.
Loden: When a businessman gets this 80 pages, it can be scary. We need a summary. There’s a checklist in the back. Move that up to the front? Just like the East Main project, we’re going to get comments and criticism. But this committee did a good job.
Brangenberg: This doesn’t change anything we’ve been doing the last few months. It just clarifies it.
Question: If you have a developer who wants a permit, will he get a copy of these guidelines?
Bishop: City will direct him to the city website for guidelines when they request a permit. Before they can get a permit, they have to go through the design committee. When it gets approved to the city code, it will be in the same link on the website.
Jim Beane: How much additional cost will the new guidelines add?
Bishop: We’re not dictating things. Not saying you have to use this glass or this cornice. It’s a case-by-case basis. It’s not really something you can give an accurate number on.
Brangenberg: We’ve always been using these guidelines. It’s nothing new.
Bishop: I came onto the design committee four or five years ago. Was mentioned then that we didn’t have a really good code to go by. We follow Dept of Interior code.
Camille Sloan: We have worked on it a long, long time. It was so overwhelming. Y’all have done a great job.
Bishop: Thank you to the committee, Allie and CDF for all the work you put into it. CDF helped out after the retreat.
Loden: It gives suggestions and not requirements.
Brangenberg: This is a guide to what we’ve already been doing.
Jim Beane: Motion we accept. Shari Long Neelly seconds. Board unanimously approves the guidelines.
Main & Me presentation with Jessica Reed
Brangenberg: We’re the first community that’s actually taken the plunge to get this up and running. This will be a website for us to take a look at all of our downtown business. Can take pictures and create a wishlist. It’s a way for our downtown businesses to have an online presence.
The site is still in beta testing, but we’re working to get it up.
The owners (not from here) wanted to give downtowns a way to have an online presence. Set it up through your existing Facebook, twitter or gmail account.
When you are logged in, you can see pictures of everything posted from downtown.
Right now, there’s 110 communities using Main & Me. Good for if you want to vacation. You can look and see what the stores have. It’s basically like you are walking down Main Street and looking in the windows.
Retail stores can add pictures. His/Hers has done a great job. Restaurants can post information on their new menus. It’s really whatever you want to make it.
Now, consumers can upload their own pictures. They can create their own wishlist.
It’s really easy to put things on Main & Me. You name it, put a price range, a description and tags.
Once the photos are added, there’s not an approval process. But the store owners do have admin options to delete or edit photos.
Good for holidays – you are able to “like,” comment or create wishlists from Main & Me. (Carlie note – think of this as a Main Street mashup of Pinterest and Facebook.)
Our launch is Sept. 6 – Oct. 6. Calling it a “flash drive.” We presented it to the Tupelo Young Professionals.
The competition judges the most photos added, most wishlists created, the most comments. Winner gets a shopping spree downtown.
There’s not a lot on Main & Me right now, but we think there will be once Tupelo gets involved.
Future of Main & Me is to make the community pages more unique to Tupelo. Plan to launch a mobile app for this. It should be launched in the next couple months. It also has the potential to be an e-commerce site.
Brangenberg: Right now, everything is free. Free to post and free to participate. We encourage everyone to use the site. Only members of Main Street can be on this site. We have those admin rights. It’s one of those things we have to sometimes do. Everyone looks at Pinterest, but you click on something and it’s on a store halfway across the country. This way, you can click on it and see that you can get it in downtown Tupelo.
Blair Hughes: Is there a way to monitor traffic beyond the comments?
Jessica Reed: Still learning. Will look into it.
Reed: We’ve set up every member of Main Street (retail and restaurant) on Main & Me. We now have five registered competitors out taking pictures.
Question: Are there advertising pops? If someone isn’t a Main Street member and they want to advertise on the site, can they?
Brangenberg: Haven’t gotten to the money part yet.
Reed: The winners get a shopping spree. Top award is $500 in Downtown Dollars.
Brangenberg: The creators of the site donated $500 to this project. We matched the money.
Richard Tucker: It’s a long explanation. I think we need to get a shorter explanation. It’s basically a way for you to shop downtown online.
Brangenberg: Good idea. Hope our marketing committee comes up with something.
Kim Root: As owner of a retail store (Swirlz!), I’m really excited about this. We have a lot of online competition and we don’t have a website. Thank you for doing this.
Chili Fest update from Allie West:
Chili Fest is Oct. 12. We need volunteers. If the board doesn’t volunteer, other people won’t.
We’ve had three teams committed and paid for. We’ve talked to about 15 others. A lot of good buzz out there.
Director’s report from Debbie Brangenberg:
Shari Neelly has agreed to accept term on the board. Louis Conley has set a letter of resignation to devote to family time.
Craig Helmuth commented that this is the best attendance in a long time. It’s the second Tuesday of the month instead of the first. Should we move to the second Tuesday instead?
From a staff standpoint, it would be a whole lot easier to fall on the second week of the month. Would help us point together the financials better.
It is restaurant week. Blair Hughes of Park Heights has initiated that. I think they’ve had a great effort for the first year.
It’s been an amazing response for us. Our lunch is up 50 percent. That’s at a reduced ticket, but it’s been phenomenal. It wasn’t hard to put together.
Jim Beane: Good for us too.
We were getting enough business off of the newspaper and the downtown newsletter that I held off on sending my newsletter. I didn’t know if we could handle the extra traffic.
Brangenberg: Several of us are going to Rogers, Ark., this weekend and next week for Destination Downtown.
Tammy Rogers: Oct. 5 through the 8 (Carlie note: not sure I heard the date right) – MS Association of Supervisors will be in town. Would really like for us to roll out the red carpet for them.
Lucia Randle of Reed’s: We have a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Reed’s for the Christmas parade. Will announce the marshall.
Meeting adjourned at 12:48 p.m.