To qualify as a Certified Retirement City in Mississippi, officials in Tupelo had to meet several criteria that are demanded by the state.
"Mississippi sent representatives who observed us for three months, making sure our city has everything it takes to attract people looking to retire in a community with character," says Ora Baldwin, retirement director for the City of Tupelo. "We were certified by the state with no problem."
One guideline for certification is making sure that continuing education is available to residents, and Tupelo houses both Itawamba Community College and the University of Mississippi, Tupelo Branch. Another key factor is having a good health care system in place, and Tupelo's North Mississippi Medical Center is the largest non-metropolitan hospital in the United States.
"State officials also look for a strong arts and culture presence, and we have amenities like the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Tupelo Community Theatre, Tupelo Ballet as well as art galleries and museums," Baldwin says. "And Tupelo Parks and Recreation oversees a Bel-Air Senior Recreation Center that even has a nine-hole golf course."
Baldwin adds that Tupelo offers several places of worship, and as for shopping, residents can enjoy the convenience of the Mall at Barnes Crossing.
"We also have the scenic beauty of Natchez Trace Parkway and a comfortable cost of living," she says. "For example, any 65-and-older homeowner in Tupelo pays property taxes only on anything over $75,000 on the appraised value of their home."
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