Downtown development: Walking tour is step forward for area’s continued improvement

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Joe Borgstrom stood in the afternoon sunlight streaming into The Watermark Vicksburg through its open sky light Monday evening and explained the rules to a crowd that had gathered for a tour of downtown. They were simple: The tour would lead them through downtown Vicksburg’s rapidly declining list of vacant buildings, and those in attendance would leave suggestions for what they would like to see occupy those spaces on Post-it Notes to be reviewed later.

“I’m an expert in analysis, but what I am not an expert in is Vicksburg, and that’s why you all are here tonight,” Borgstrom told the crowd.

On a visit from Michigan funded by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for the Downtown Vicksburg Main Street Program to help further revitalize the area, Borgstrom – principal for Place + Main Advisors – has been retained to help analyze and lead the process.

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“What I want to do is get your opinion on each of these vacant properties and what you would like to see in these storefronts,” he said. “It’s my job to figure out the difference between what the market will bear and what the community wants.”

Monday’s tour featured a number of downtown properties, beginning near The Valley at the corner of Washington Street and South Street and continuing to 1500, 1420, 1314, 1214, and 1306 Washington Street and 717 Clay Street.

Concluding Monday’s tour, Borgstrom said the data collected would be analyzed and released online by Downtown Vicksburg Main Street Program for public consumption and prior to any further steps in the process.