Moss Point leaders find best use for vacant downtown property

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Alisha O'Bannon owns "Alisha and Friends" which happens to be next to the now closed Bellview Shopping Complex in Moss Point.

"It is an eyesore, it's is a real eyesore."

The business owner says it's surprising to see a building with so much potential empty and boarded up. She fears if it stays vacant, it will only attract crime to the area.

"A place for vagrants to live and kids who vandalize things. It's just an eyesore, and it needs to be taken care," O'Bannon said about the old property.

"It has been sitting for far too long," Mayor Xavier Bishop said.

Mayor Bishop says the city purchased the property for about $400,000 in 2007. The plan was to fix it up and move city employees into it until a new city hall was built. Bishop now says that may not be the case anymore.

"It is in need of considerable repairs, including a new roof, and the electrical and plumbing needs to be all upgraded," Bishop said. "It is very questionable exactly how much we would want to invest in the shopping center for functions that will only be here temporality."

Bishop says Winn-Dixie and the Salvation Army used to be tenants at the site. He's thinking it's a good idea to turn it over for commercial development.

"Making it available for doctors' offices, and lawyers' offices, and other professional services. Possibly resale the property, tear down the building and reuse the land."

Business owner O'Bannon believes a new grocery store would be the perfect fit. Right now Moss Point residents have to travel to Pascagoula or Escatawpa to shop.

"It will benefit the community and bring business to this side of town."

Mayor Bishop said he and the Board of Alderman will consider all options to make the best decision.

"It could take several months, or it could be something that could be done in short order, but a decision will have to be reached fairly quickly."

Mayor Bishop said the new fire station will be located on part of the Bellview Property, so it's important to find businesses that will be compatible.

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