Bank renovations cited

BancorpSouth's massive landscaping efforts were recognized by the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, which on Tuesday gave the bank its Award of Excellence for the indoor and outdoor renovations at its headquarters at One Mississippi Plaza.

"BancorpSouth is not just a building in downtown Tupelo," said Jan Pannell, Main Street vice president. "The fact that they have invested so much time and money in the building and landscaping proves that they are part of our community."

The award is given once every two months to people or organizations that are examples of leadership in downtown Tupelo.

HED: Main Street wants parking laws enforced

LEAD-IN: Parking limit enforcement and more parking spaces top the priority list.

By Carlie Kollath

Daily Journal

TUPELO - Parking enforcement is going to get a little stricter in downtown Tupelo, if the city accommodates a request from the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.

While most of the central business core has a two-hour parking limit, it's not being enforced effectively, according to Jim High, assistant director of the association. High said spaces are being taken by downtown employees instead of customers, and the lax enforcement is leading to a loss of business for downtown merchants and restaurants.

"It doesn't do us any good to put up a sign that says two-hour parking, if we can't enforce it," he said after the organization's March meeting Tuesday.

Darrell Smith, the city's chief operations officer, said he is aware of the problem and is working on it.

"We don't know what we're going to do, but we have to do something," Smith said.

The Tupelo Police Department is in charge of patrolling downtown. Maj. Jackie Clayton, commander of the traffic division, said a civilian officer works during the day and writes tickets for offending vehicles. Clayton said that while this is the first he's heard of the problem this year, it's common during the holiday shopping season.

"We don't want to give our downtown employees tickets," he said, "but we want to provide a place to park for our shoppers."

The Main Street association said the city needs to figure out a way to make the parking limits work because parking meters are not an option. About 30 years ago, the city had parking meters downtown but removed them.

Along with stricter enforcement, the association is hoping to ease the parking crunch by creating new spaces. Proposals include converting parallel parking to angled parking on the east side of South Spring Street between Magazine and Clark streets. The Main Street Association also has asked the city to consider converting the old electrical substation off Court Street into parking.

Contact Daily Journal business reporter Carlie Kollath at 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

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