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Posted on April 13, 2018 at 12:15 PM by Melitta Duncan
Although business districts are commonly used throughout the United States, it was a new concept introduced to the City of Southaven in 2014 when the West End District and Snowden District became the City’s first business districts. The purpose of business districts is to highlight key assets and unique characteristics of specific geographical areas within our city to promote economic development, which ultimately contributes to the overall health and success of our entire city. Business districts have zero to do with residential neighborhoods. State law mandates that geographical boundaries are established for certain public incentives. For example, the West End District allows the City to waive water and sewer tap fees, business license fees, and building permit fees as well as provide a 7-year tax exemption for City ad valorem taxes for new building structures or renovations with no minimum outlay requirement. These incentives are designed to promote the revitalization of the original part of our city within clearly-defined geographic boundaries.
The new “Metro District” has geographic boundaries defined by the attached map in the I-55/Church Road Area. This area has become highly-visible and attractive from an economic development standpoint due to its key geographic location near I-55 and the close proximity to the I-269 junction that will be open later this year. It has already attracted the interest of large-scale, nationally-known companies that have never located in Southaven or Desoto County ever before. The City envisions this district developing characteristics of a metropolis with its centralized location, utmost architectural controls, cultural events, and commercial demand. The public incentives created by this district allow a waiver of building permit fees and water and sewer tap fees for any development with a total construction cost of $25,000,000 or more. In addition, part of this district is located in an area designated as an “Opportunity Zone” by the State of Mississippi. This state incentive allows for tax relief for capital gains for private investments here. Incentivizing this area makes perfect sense from a City perspective as the growth improves our financial strength, which ultimately allows for improved services and amenities throughout our entire city.