The Tupelo City Council hired a new fire chief, authorized destruction of condemned buildings, recognized employee accomplishments and acted on routine matters during its two March meetings.
March 1, 2022, meeting
Tupelo Chief of Police John Quaka presented commendations to three police officers during the March 1 council meeting. The first ever Chief’s Award went to officer Theophilus Atchison. Officers Keylon Berrymon and Tyler Byner received special commendation awards.
Jon Paul Rhea, a senior vice president at Community Bank, was appointed to the Police Advisory Board. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Rhea has previously served on the Parks and Recreation Board.
Mayor Todd Jordan proclaimed March as American Red Cross Month. K. C. Grist joined the mayor in announcing the proclamation, which cited the Red Cross and its volunteers for assisting vulnerable people in their time of need.
Grant writer Abby Christian told the city council of requests to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) for grants totaling more than half-a-million dollars to build new sidewalks in Wards 4 and 7.
- In Ward 4 $325,788 of the money would be used to build sidewalks along Barnes Crossing Road from Academy Sports south to Thompson Square and from north of Academy Sports to Thompson Square.
- In Ward 7 $227,184 of the grant money would be used to build sidewalks from Lawndale Elementary School to South Park Manor.
March 15, 2022, meeting
During its March 15 meeting the Tupelo City Council confirmed Kelly Elliott as the city’s new fire chief. Elliott replaces Fire Chief Thomas Walker, who retired in 2021. Chief Elliott served as a Tupelo fireman from 1995 to 1998. He then joined the Mississippi Air National Guard where he held the rank of chief master sergeant and served as Fire Chief of the ANG’s 172nd Airlift Wing at Thompson Field in Jackson. Chief Elliott will be responsible for fire and emergency management services.
Sylvia Blanchard was appointed to a three-year term as the Ward 6 member of the Tupelo Police Advisory Board. She is the owner of Family Care Medical Clinic in Tupelo.
Tom Brown, a radio personality, was appointed to the board of the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. He is a student of the career of Tupelo native Elvis Presley and a regular speaker at Presley-related events.
Tanner Newman, Director of Developmental Services for the city, got approval from the council for the demolition of two condemned buildings. The properties to be demolished are at 922/924 Hadley St. and 5257 Parnell Rd.
The Tupelo Police Department (TPD) received approval for two grant applications to come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- The first grant, in the amount of $52,686, would be used by the TPD for the purchase of new investigative software, for an upgrade to fingerprinting capability and to outfit conference and meeting spaces with smartboards.
- The second Homeland Security grant application, for $99,968, is for robotic systems to be used to disarm potential explosive devices and for use by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
The next meeting of the Tupelo City Council will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m.
Video of March 1, 2022 meeting (Kenny S Studio) : https://youtu.be/Scj5Sxa5rF8
American Red Cross, Commendations, Condemned buildings, Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, grants, Homeland Security grants, Police Advisory Board, sidewalks, Tupelo Fire Chief, Tupelo MS City Council, Tupelo Police Chief, Tupelo Police Department