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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — For more than 20 years, Tupelo’s Redevelopment Authority has been the driving force behind breathing new life into the downtown Fairpark area.

Now Columbus hopes the same kind of public-private partnership can spur investment in some of the city’s fading commercial areas.

The City Council Tuesday heard its first presentation today on proposed redevelopment districts that include the Island, parts of the Southside along the railroad tracks, 7th Avenue North, and Fifth Street and Highway 45 from downtown to Leigh Mall. The Council may add 14th Avenue North before the final plan is done.

The existing area includes 839 tracts covering 1,296 acres. The city already owns 33 parcels covering 36 acres and could use those as a starting point for development initiatives. The Authority also could approach the owners of some buildings about donating them, for the tax deduction, which could add to the potential inventory and expedite incentive efforts.

If finalized in the next 60 days, the authority has creative powers to raise money, push development plans for specific properties and work with developers to find new uses for old properties.

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