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Downtown is returning to its roots

If you were one of the hundreds of visitors who filled the sidewalks down Washington Street Monday evening, watching and cheering on those participating in the Miss Mississippi Parade, welcome and we hope you have so far enjoyed your stay.

Washington Street — long a site for mercantile businesses — has flourished in recent years, riding the wave of development in downtown Vicksburg, to become a retail and entertainment destination.

From the development of loft apartments and other residential options, to a wide variety of gastric delights, Washington Street and downtown Vicksburg have developed into a community within a community. In many ways, it is a self-supporting economy with a growing number of businesses supporting the growing number of people choosing to call the downtown district home.

In recent years, the city of Vicksburg has made investments into the infrastructure of downtown and created a tax district that has helped spurn growth and redevelopment.

Efforts to enhance the quality of life experience for those who visit and live in downtown has turned that corner of our city into a jewel; something that is cherished for what it is and what it means to the overall economic health of Vicksburg.

It has been a long-held belief by city planners that a city thrives when it has a strong and viable downtown. If that belief proves true, then Vicksburg is in very good shape.

Is more work needed? Yes. There remain far too many vacant buildings and buildings left abandoned by their owners.

There remains crucial infrastructure work that needs to be planned and funded. Streets and sidewalks must be addressed to meet the demands of a downtown community that travels more by foot and bike than by car.

And, the riverfront remains in need of redevelopment to maximize its economic impact potential.

Vicksburg is a city that has made strong, progressive moves in recent years that have led to the development and redevelopment of its downtown. It’s important we do not stop now.

Downtown Vicksburg was once a hustling, bustling economic center for Vicksburg, with riverboats unloading and loading trade. Today it is hustling and bustling again, this time with those seeking a certain quality of living.