Community needs to help fill vacant spaces

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 20, 2011

Signs of our community’s industrial and retail past are all around us.

From the former Titan Tire plant and Johns Manville plant on the industrial side to the Magnolia Mall and Tracetown shopping center on the retail side, vacant space abounds in our community.

But the question of what can be done to make these spaces fully utilized again is a complicated one.

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Some of the pieces of property are privately owned, while the city or county own other properties.

Natchez is a city that is quite accustomed to reusing older properties. It’s our thing. Historic preservation is what drives our tourism industry.

But most of the vacant properties are not historic in nature, and when the world of business comes calling, preserving history and repurposing something old is only done if the profitability makes sense.

If an option doesn’t work financially, businesses will go another direction.

Ultimately, some of the properties in question can be refurbished and reused. Some likely will need to be torn down to make way for a new use.

Regardless of the option, our community needs to be working to either find businesses to fill the vacant properties or helping to clear them out of the way, if they’re not reusable.