City, Main Street partner to bring more businesses to downtown
Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 4, 2014
Throughout downtown Picayune, residents may notice a number of vacant buildings. In an effort to revitalize the downtown area, Picayune Main Street and the City of Picayune will continue to partner to bring life back to the area.
Picayune City Manager Jim Luke said the city is focusing on beautification in an effort to make the downtown area marketable.
Along with installing ornate streetlights, new street signs and planting new flowerbeds, the city has worked on increasing the number of parking spaces, Luke said.
Luke said thanks to the new parking in front of PJ’s Coffee House and a donation from Bank Plus, 43 additional parking spaces are now available downtown.
He said many business owners and visitors to downtown complain about the lack of parking available.
President of Picayune Main Street, Bill Edwards, said one of the problems with filling vacancies is the high price of taxes and property insurance on the buildings.
Edwards said when a property owner decides on a lease price, the amount has to be enough to cover taxes and insurance, which is not allowing for more affordable leases.
He said he thinks taxes on the buildings should be re-evaluated.
Edwards said he has been in business for over 25 years and “this is the toughest I’ve ever seen it.”
Luke said filling vacancies and bringing people to downtown is a constant battle all small towns face.
“It’s not just Picayune; it’s all across the United States,” said Reba Beebe, manager of Picayune Main Street.
Beebe said Picayune Main Street is constantly working to get people to relocate to downtown, but things don’t always work out.
Edwards said the organization is working to encourage current downtown businesses to use greenery in front of the buildings and to redecorate the storefront windows as often as possible.
Edwards said he would like to see a wider variety of restaurants in downtown to draw people and visitors. Luke said he would like to see more retailers downtown.
“We’re doing whatever we can to encourage businesses to locate downtown,” Edwards said.
Luke said in addition to the ongoing projects downtown, he thinks the city purchasing Crosby Memorial Hospital and turning it into green space will allow for the space to be used to bring people downtown.