CDF History & Overview

The '90's

Quality of Life Growth

During the 1990’s, a great deal of CDF’s efforts were focused on quality of life programs. With the help of the PHH Fantus Study, twenty strategies were selected to focus on during this decade.

During the two previous decades, Weinstein Studies were completed, identifying the need for a regional mall in the Tupelo/Lee County area. In 1990, the Mall at Barnes Crossing opened as the first regional mall in Northeast Mississippi. When it opened in 1990, sales were $150.00 per square foot, with 1,000 mall employees, and 3.8 million visitors that year. In 2007, sales were $398.5 per square foot, with 2,600 mall employees, and 12.5 million visitors that year.

In 1992, CDF optioned 263 acres in North Lee County for the North Lee Industrial Complex. The industrial park that is home to such industries as Hancock Fabrics, AL-KO Kober, and Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi was re-named the Harry A. Martin North Lee Industrial Complex in 2000.

On October 9, 1993, the Tupelo Coliseum, now the BancorpSouth Arena, opened with comedian Bill Cosby as the opening act. The venue has hosted a plethora of entertainment events including artists such as James Taylor, the Eagles, Van Halen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Nickelback, and Aerosmith. In 1994, the facility was nominated for Best New Major Concert Venue in Pollstar Magazine. The same year Performance Magazine nominated the Coliseum as Best New Facility (7,000 to 12,999 seats) and Best New Facility overall.

Sponsored by the Lee County Board of Supervisors, the Lee County Agri-Center opened in Verona in 1994. The 151,000 square foot center included an enclosed arena with concert seating for 6,200, an outside warm-up area, stall barn, cattle barn, and small animal barn. The venue hosts equine and livestock shows throughout the year and also offers an RV park and the Magnolia Room, a multi-purpose arena.   

Tupelo was named an “All America City” for the third time in 1999. The 1990’s also brought several new corporate citizens to the Tupelo/Lee County area including Sara Lee, Allsteel, Himolene, Stanley Works, Norbord, Berkline Corporation, AL-KO Kober, and Bryce Corporation. 

For over 50 years, CDF sponsored the annual Tupelo Christmas Parade.