Social media campaign seeks to save Bellevue mall - - The News for South Mississippi

Social media campaign seeks to save Bellevue mall

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There could be hope for a mall that has sat empty for years. Investors have come forward with one exciting plan after another for the gigantic Bellevue Center mall, but each has fizzled.

But a social media campaign may help breathe new life into the old property as a local teenager is leading a charge to revitalize it.

"It was silly that nothing's being done here when there's so much support for it, so I started it to see if people had the same ideas," said organizer Kevin Prusinowski.

He created a Facebook page called "Bring Back the Bellevue Center Mall," and it is rapidly growing in popularity.

"For a while, I only had about 16 supporters. Then, last Sunday, it jumped to 100. I saw on Monday that I had almost 1,000," he said.

Just a few days after that, the page has gotten more than 3,000 "Likes" and counting.

But city council members say it will take a lot more than Facebook support.

"I wish it was as easy to arrange financing and tenants for a new facility or replacement facility as it is to attract followers," said Councilman Charlie Tygard.

Leaders say other shopping centers like Nashville West, Green Hills and Cool Springs have taken a lot of the business that Bellevue would need. Plus, they say the mall format as we know it now is a thing of the past.

"The mall in its present form will not come back. Closed-in malls are dinosaurs. They are too costly to maintain," Tygard said.

It's been an ongoing five-year battle to try to revitalize the area, and planners say they are cautiously optimistic.

The current proposal is to transform the mall into a multi-use development, but council members say they will not release a timeline or a list of tenants until the developer, Crosland Southeast, gives the green light.

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