PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Since the Evelyn Gandy Parkway was built, businesses have been moving towards the corridor. That movement could leave downtown Petal with vacant buildings.
“Our situation is not unique, it’s just something that unfortunately you have the good with the bad," said Mayor Hal Marx. “We have a lot of good growth on the Gandy, but it creates a problem for the older part of town that doesn’t have a lot of traffic coming through there.”
Many are concerned with the financial impacts this could have on Petal.
Marx says not to worry about that, since the Gandy is within city limits, Petal still makes money off of those businesses.
“A business relocating from one area of the city to another doesn’t necessarily negatively impact the city financially," Marx said. “As a matter of fact, if it picks their business up and they generate more sales because of the higher traffic, it actually helps the city."
Even with the financial advantages the Gandy brings, there are some downfalls to the changes to Petal’s downtown district
“What the negative impact is, is that if you’re not able to find a business that wants to locate in their old building, then you’re left with an abandoned, vacant building,” said Marx.
Marx said the city isn’t involved with filling those businesses with tenants, but he does have an idea of the types of businesses that would benefit from those locations.
“I think the future for that area of town is going to be with professional offices, small specialty boutiques and maybe a few restaurants that’ll stay in that area,” said Marx
Vacant buildings could lead to some believing a city is dying, but Marx said that isn’t true in Petal, and the Gandy has been a big part of that growth.