Market Street redesign meets backlash from local businesses

Market Street redesign meets backlash from local businesses
Market Street design plans hang in Anderson's Bakery to raise awareness about the city's proposal. (Photo Source: WLOX News)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - What was meant to be an effort to boost business in the Market Street area in Pascagoula is getting some negative feedback from local businesses.

"It's not necessary, it's a waste of money," said David Anderson, who owns Anderson Bakery on Market Street.

The city's proposal is a more than $2.3 million dollar renovation to the strip extending from Polk Avenue to Ingalls Avenue. Anderson and his wife Lynae Jacob are leading the effort against the city's plan.

"We're trying to make people aware of this project, because a lot of people have no idea that the city's about to do this," said Jacob. 
Under the proposal, Market St. would be cut down to just two lanes. The outside lanes would turn into a bike lane and parallel parking spots, and the current parking area would turn into a sidewalk and grassy areas.

"No matter what they say, one lane traffic is gonna get bogged up with people trying to parallel park," said Anderson.

Additionally, roundabouts would replace the traffic lights at the two ends of the strip.

The couple has created a Facebook page against the proposal with more than 440 followers. They've also created a petition.

Other businesses in the area say they'd like some improvements, just not the ones proposed.

"I would like to see them just beautify it, spend the money to repave the road, get rid of some of these old empty building that have been here since Katrina filled with mold," said Barry Johnson, the owner of New York Pizza Pascagoula.

But Pascagoula city manager Joe Huffman says people need to slow down a bit.

"It's just in the preliminary stages, we're trying to get feedback and changing things as we go," Huffman said.

The city says the move to do the renovations has to do with economic development.

"We're trying to create an environment where people will actually walk to businesses. Right now if you're going to do business on Market Street you will drive to the business, and then you'll get in your car and you'll leave. We're hoping to create some sort of economical development opportunity where we can have a walkable area where if I park my car along the street we might visit one or two businesses," Huffman said.

Huffman and business owners agree that dialogue needs to happen before the project moves forward.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.