Businesses are setting up shop in the City of Petal. Jessica Bowman spoke to the mayor about the economic boost and what's next for downtown.
"Obviously, over the past few months we've had a lot of new businesses come in," Mayor Hal Marx said. "Sully's restaurant recently opened. They are a big success over here. We have another restaurant that's about to open, which is Robin's Wharf.
Residents are excited about business expansion taking shape in new developing areas off Evenlyn Gandy.
"I like it. They are getting more over there on the Gandy," James Holcomb said. "More jobs."
"And I just learned Fox's Pizza is going to re-open in the Eastbrook shopping center," Marx said. "It was destroyed by the tornado. It's one of the last businesses that was in that shopping center that's going to come back. So, that will be good for us."
Marx said the city has seen a continuous rise in the sales tax collection during the last several years and he expects the trend to continue.
"That sales tax money then goes into our fund to help do work on our infrastructure and play or police and fire what they deserve," Marx said.
While this is good business and bringing an economic boost for the city, Marx said it's now time to try and attract other business owners to help the downtown area thrive.
"We talked about creating a special tax district so they get a little bit of a break on their taxes if they operate in that area of town," Marx said. "Over the last several years we have offered a facade grant program where businesses who improve the look of their business. For instance, the city has reimbursed them up to $1,000 for their cost. Things like that to say 'look, we want you to make an investment in downtown and we're willing to help you.'"