Pascagoula proposes entertainment district to boost tax dollars

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – An entertainment district could be in Pascagoula's future. City leaders will vote this week on whether to create a district for theaters, sporting arenas, and other entertainment based businesses in the city.  City officials said a boost in new businesses should help because sales tax revenues are down $250,000.

"We are totally just being ran over by other businesses, and we are so low on business now," businessman Steve Loper said.

Loper believes Pascagoula has always lacked a lot of fun and exciting attractions to offer people who live here.

"We don't need people leaving Pascagoula to look for entertainment in other places."

The city council is now discussing starting up an entertainment district. The designated area will be for movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, and other entertainment-based businesses.

"The entertainment district that we are proposing will encompass the central business district, which includes the Main street district along Highway 90, which is the most heavily, traveled areas in town," Councilman Frank Corder said.

Councilman Corder said the state has agreed to give the developers tax incentives to get more attractions here.

"They are eligible for accelerated depreciation of their taxes up to five years and that is a very big plus."

Pascagoula's Human Resources Director said once the entertainment businesses are up and running, both the state and the city will get a profit.

"Any business that meets the venue requirement, meaning they have to sell tickets, they have to have an admission price; the city will get the sales tax revenues from that. The state, while they will lose a little money in the beginning on the property taxes, what they will get in the long run is two dollars per hit," Bruce Knott said.

Loper said the way the economy is nowadays, leaders need to say yes to the change.

"We need all the business we can to keep this city surviving."

The state approved an entertainment district bill last year to encourage building and boost tourism. Councilman Corder said only two cities in the state have entertainment districts.

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