Mayor Magee feeling positive about Laurel these days

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee talks about city's positive vibe
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 9:28 PM CST
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Southern Living Magazine is shining a spotlight on Laurel, highlighting the town’s revitalization efforts and the role HGTV’s “Hometown” played in that growth.

The city continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

The city has a progressive tourism tax that’s higher than it’s ever been, and the city added a 3 percent tax in 2022 on hotels, motels and short-term rentals.

All of the publicity and the TV show has impacted local businesses.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said the town is reaping the benefits.

“We’ve had people here from all over the United States and several different parts of the world and they are all hoping to catch a glimpse of Ben and Erin (’Hometown’ hosts) because that is the reason they are coming,” Magee said. “I hope that they can continue to remodel and renovate houses for 20 years to come. It’s great for the city.”

The city broke ground on a $1.5 million welcome center for tourists in 2022 that’s expected to be completed sometime this summer.

Funds from various pots of money are being used to cover the tourism center’s cost, including the tourism tax, City of Laurel and Jones County Board of Supervisors’ outlays and Housing and Urban Development backing.

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