Residents offer feedback for city comprehensive plan

By NIKKI SMITH,

Mayor Hal Marx and the Board of Aldermen hosted a town hall meeting on the city's Comprehensive Plan last week.

The public was invited to attend to provide input and voice concerns.

The plan will serve as a blueprint for growth and improving city services for future city administrations over the next 15 to 20 years. All were invited to attend whether they live within the city limits or not.

Parks and recreation opportunities, maintain high quality schools, improve water system, upgrade sewer system, property maintenance and repaving and restriping streets were among some of the things that the city looks to do in the coming years.

They also mentioned the possibility of a new city hall with the police station. The focus being to create an identity for the downtown area of Petal and foster commercial and residential growth.

The floor was then opened up for those in attendance to voice concerns or comment on what they would like to see in the future in the Friendly City.

Libby Everett voiced her desire for a “gallery-type setting” or a museum of Petal history. While Ada Madison said she sees a need for a hotel in the city.

“When we have family come to stay or have anything going on, they all have to go to Hattiesburg for a hotel,” she said. “That’s money the city is losing.”

Others in attendance suggested the possibility of a vocational school. Director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce Valerie Wilson said there is a need for more adult education opportunities, especially for veterans looking to reenter the workforce or those looking to get into a new profession.

Wilson also suggested housing and residential development opportunities to attract military personnel from Camp Shelby.

Other commercial development suggestions were a men’s clothing store, a book store, a family-style restaurant and a movie theater.

Marx commended city workers and residents for getting involved. He thanked residents for showing up and sharing their vision.

Many people who were not present for the meeting watched online via the live Facebook feed and provided comments with their suggestions and concerns.

Additional meetings will be held to continue work on the comprehensive plan for the city’s future.