Ribbon cutting held for Petal Central Business District – WDAM

PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) – On Dec. 6, the Petal Board of Aldermen voted to approve the establishment of a central business district in downtown Petal. On Wednesday, Jan. 18, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the CBD’s establishment.

The goal of the district is to grant property tax abatements to new developments and existing business expansions in the area for 3,5, or 7-year periods depending on the type of project and/or the investment total to further the growth of the downtown areas by attracting new business.

“This is really a good thing,” said Petal Mayor Tony Ducker. “We’ve struggled with not really having a traditional downtown. As a city, we’ve taken a couple runs at defining what a downtown area would be, but, in the end, it never stuck.

With the work Alderman Blake Nobles and the ADP’s Kaitlyn Smith have done, we have another valuable tool that will not only define this area but benefit businesses wanting to locate in this area.”

The district is split into a northern district and a southern district. While the northern district is broken down by parcels located east of Hwy 11 and on towards Old Richton Road, the southern district’s parcels run along South Main Street starting at West 10th Avenue and on towards the Leaf River.

This project has been in the works since 2021. The Petal Board of Aldermen and the Forrest County Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance to make this project come to fruition, and it is the culmination of extensive planning on the part of the City of Petal, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, the Area Development Partnership, and the Petal Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m incredibly excited and thankful to my fellow aldermen for passing this ordinance,” said Petal Alderman Ward 3 Blake Nobles. “Many realize much of Petal’s business is moving to the Gandy, and no one wants to see our downtown fall by the wayside. With this ordinance, we will be offering a hand in revitalization to our current local business owners, and an opportunity for new local businesses to start.

Alongside the numerous downtown projects taking place, such as the new bridge and the Matthew’s Branch walkway, this ordinance gives the community another tool to help create the welcoming atmosphere Petal’s residents and guests deserve. I deeply hope this vision catches on and that everyone is able to take advantage of this opportunity. As our city continues to grow, we’ll be able to expand this district for more owners to partake in the future.”

“Forrest County is incredibly excited for our growing partnership with the City of Petal,” said District 3, Forrest County Board of Supervisors Burkett Ross. “We want to do everything that we can to help the City of Petal grow and prosper and this central business district does just that. This project opens the door for Petal to be a lucrative spot for new investments and helps us continue this good relationship with the City of Petal. We cannot wait to see what comes of this.”

Petal has been a city of steady growth and opportunity for many years, but this central business district incentive is an opportunity to encourage even more growth in this historic part of the city.

“The Petal Area Chamber of Commerce is excited about the creation of a defined Central Business District in Petal because of the potential to attract new businesses and established businesses to downtown,” said Executive Director of the Petal Chamber of Commerce Valerie Wilson. “High rental rates and cost of property on the Evelyn Gandy Parkway prevent many small businesses from being successful due to high overhead expense. These same businesses may be highly successful in our CBD.

By offering incentives that encourage businesses and individuals to invest in downtown properties, we are providing a stimulus for downtown investment resulting in revitalization and beautification. Our goal is to create a downtown experience in which people enjoy shopping, visiting, and living in the CBD.”

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