With the 1960’s came a continued effort to further Tupelo/Lee County’s status as a growing manufacturing power in Mississippi. In 1961, Lee County Supervisors approved the paving of 84 miles of county roads which allowed rural workers to get to work year round and gave Lee County one of the most improved rural road systems in the state.
A major step towards the regionalization of Tupelo/Lee County occurred in 1962 with the creation of Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South (TULIPS), CDF’s first industrial park. Aircap and Griffin Hinge (Eljer) were the first to locate in TULIPS. For the first time, industry payrolls in Lee County exceeded that of agriculture. Interestingly, Griffin Hinge’s payroll was equal to that of 5,000 bales of cotton.
During the 1960’s CDF sponsored the creation of several community organizations by providing leadership, financial support, and staff assistance. Such organizations included United Way of Greater Lee County, Lift, Inc., and Lee United Neighbors. Also, industries including Dryden Rubber, Walled Lake Door, Krueger Metal Products, Rheem Manufacturing, and Barber’s Pure Milk located to Tupelo/Lee County during this time.
Education has always played a vital role in the growth of CDF. With the 1960’s came the completion of Tupelo High School and Auditorium. In 1966, the State Superintendent of Education cited Tupelo as the “leading community in education in the state.” As such, Tupelo was named an All-America City by the National Civic League in 1967.
With 1969 came the creation of a pivotal entity in the Council of Governments. Through CDF, elected officials of Lee County and its municipalities joined together to create a regional planning commission called the Council of Governments (COG). The purpose of this organization was to broaden the communication and cooperation between governmental entities and to provide technical planning and public policy services to Lee County and its municipalities. COG services all nine Lee County municipalities including Baldwyn, Guntown, Nettleton, Plantersville, Saltillo, Shannon, Sherman, Tupelo, and Verona. The initial COG officers were Mayor James Robbins, Chairman; Supervisor Calvin Turner, Vice-Chairman; Harry A. Martin, Secretary/Treasurer; and Frank Riley, Council Attorney.