New roads lead to new opportunities

By Dennis Seid / NEMS Daily Journal

The northern loop connecting west Tupelo to the Barnes Crossing area will be a welcome addition once it’s complete, as will the Highway 6 bypass that will link to the south part of the city.
The more roads to move people and traffic, the better. And where traffic flows, development often follows.
For the residents and businesses along South Gloster, there is hope that the Highway 6 link will bring more retailers and restaurants.
Let’s face reality – the area has seen better days.
But that doesn’t mean it has been – or should be – forgotten, ignored or overlooked. Many viable businesses and restaurants are doing just fine along the corridor, and the biggest employer in the region – North Mississippi Medical Center – sits in the heart of the district.
That means the thousands of employees, patients and guests at the hospital also are potential customers.
If the current residents and businesses on South Gloster Street hope to enjoy the benefits of the Highway 6 connection, having the rest of South Gloster five-lanedm of course, is a very important goal for them.
The South Gloster Business Association has been fighting to improve the busy corridor, reforming last year to push the message that, yes, it is alive.
Getting Highway 6 and ensuring the five-laning of the rest of South Gloster Street would reinforce that message.
And what about that northern loop?
Especially around the hectic Christmas holiday shopping season, having that road open would relieve some of the congestion.
It also could bring more traffic, since it’s opening another route to the area. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You want as many people shopping and eating as possible, spending their money in town.
And developers are keenly interested in the area. Look at the hotels – three of them! – being built. Look at the restaurants and retailers who have opened or are planning to open.
Like it or not, Barnes Crossing is the first place developers will go when they’re doing market surveys and traffic counts to determine whether or not to build in Tupelo.
The northern loop, like the Highway 6-South Gloster Street connection, will bring more development to the city. And that’s good for everyone.
The next question many people will ask (and have asked) is, “When’s Target coming?”
Surely the new roads are a selling point. Yes, but …
Last year, Target said it was cutting back on the number of store openings to concentrate on remodeling its older stores.
The good news is that Target still expects to eventually open as many as 3,000 more stores in the U.S. It now has 1,752. So there is hope for the future, Target fans.
But Target is opening only 21 new stores this year, and none of them are in Mississippi.
And from what I gather, Target wants its land free, and the developer (who has to have fairly deep pockets) gets back its investment by recruiting other stores and restaurants to build on the property.
It’s a lot to ask, especially as the economy tries to climb back from a recession.
Getting a Target anytime soon is a long shot. Then again, building a mall in a pasture was unheard of, too.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.