Increase in building fees a good sign

Published 12:15 am Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nearly six years ago, Mississippians along with the rest of the nation watched a dramatic economic crash that was wide-reaching across nearly every industry.
However, a promising report released this week by the City of Vicksburg showing that the value of building permits has been steadily climbing is a good sign for all.
Construction, historically a benchmark industry for economists, has been one of the hardest-hit fields in the last few years thanks to the economic collapse. The local report pairs well with recent indicators that construction is adding jobs monthly, a sign that the economy is on the rebound.
Community Development Director Victor Gray Lewis showed that, between FY 2010 and FY 2013, the value of building permits has increased 103.7 percent.
The current values, which include all new residential and commercial construction, do not even include figures for River Region Medical Center’s $7.8 million annex that will be built north of the hospital’s U.S. 61 North campus.
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the report is where the value increases are coming from.
The newly renovated Aeolian at the corner of Clay and Cherry Streets, the current renovations at the old Carr Central High School and the downtown wine bar, the Wine House all show a growing interest by investors in the downtown Vicksburg area.
While downtown is not the only area benefitting from the construction growth, it’s a good barometer for our one-municipality county.
Fortunately for Vicksburg, other projects expected in the next year include the renovation of the Corner Drugstore building, a CVS pharmacy on North Frontage and Halls Ferry Roads and the expansion of Golding Barge Co.’s headquarters, first announced in 2012.
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. pointed to the report, saying the increase in permits “shows we’re able to be fiscally responsible and still see the permits for commercial development go up.”
“It validates that we’re headed in the right direction and we’re going to keep going,” he said. “What’s very clear to me is I think the business community is interested in Vicksburg and we’re going to continue to sell ourselves to the business community and the world.”
We certainly hope so, George.