Tourism officials on Tuesday finally approved a $50,000 request to fund major renovations of the Elvis Presley Museum. The decision came after the museum's trustees revealed their financial situation.
Members of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau twice denied the request earlier this summer because members of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation - a city-created trust that runs the Elvis attractions in Tupelo - had refused to turn over their financial reports. They did so in a Daily Journal news story published Sunday.
With the CVB allocation approved, it appears the City Council also will contribute to the project. The EPMF requested $100,000 from the city, which is expected to make its decision in September. But Daphne Holcombe, the city's chief financial officer, said council members have already inserted the request into the budget.
The project to turn the museum into a "world-class" attraction will cost $262,400. The EPMF will contribute $100,000 of its own money and raise another $12,400 through "internally generated funds."
With the money apparently in place, renovations are scheduled to begin this fall to turn the museum into a multimedia exhibit focusing mostly on Elvis the boy, who was born and grew up in Tupelo. It also will feature a tribute to Presley-family-friend and longtime EPMF chairwoman Janelle McComb, and memorabilia from Elvis' days as an entertainer.
The new showcase is slated to open by Presley's Jan. 8 birthday with a goal of doubling museum attendance to 100,000 visitors annually.