McComb has a long and rich history, from the Chitlin Circuit to the Civil Rights Movement, and Mayor Quordiniah Lockley wants to help it along by creating an entertainment district.
“We want to build upon the idea that we can be the entertainment Mecca for Southwest Mississippi,” he said. “The wheels had already been turning in this direction. All I have been doing is trying to give it a push.”
The city board voted 5-0 with Selectman Donovan Hill absent Tuesday to create the entertainment district. It follows the west side of Broadway from Kramertown north to Kentucky Avenue, then crosses the railroad to pick up a block of Michigan Avenue and New York Avenue East and ends at the intersection of Summit and Desoto streets.
This area encompasses businesses downtown, Burglund and east McComb, as well as residential areas. Lockley said he hopes by designating the area as the entertainment district, more investors and individuals would want to locate businesses in the area.
Lockley said the biggest draw for those looking to locate a business in an entertainment district is an accelerated depreciation distinction that allows for more tax deductions at a much faster rate than market value.
“What this does when we talk about property owners and investors, this gives them another tool in their toolbox,” he said. “They already have the depot and the historic district, and there are incentives there, and you can actually combine them all together. You don’t have to worry about overlapping.”
Lockley said businesses that have cover charges or entry fees will have to tack on an additional $2 that will go to the Mississippi Arts Commission.
He also said it isn’t just business owners who will feel the benefits of the distinction, noting that individuals can turn their homes into studios to get those benefits.
“It depends on arts and entertainment. It covers a vast territory, from writers and paints to musicians and dancers,” Lockley said.
He said work on the entertainment district started near the beginning of the year. He said he has held meetings about the district and saw a lot of support from residents and business owners.
Lockley said the move to designate an entertainment district mirrors what many other cities around the state have done, namely Hattiesburg, Meridian, Biloxi and Ocean Springs.