For the economy to be in the middle of a recession, seeing new construction activity is encouraging.
While a 15-minute drive (depending on traffic of course) on one of Tupelo's busiest corridors is by no means a complete economic indicator, it does provide a snapshot of sorts.
And the picture is encouraging.
On Mattox Street off South Gloster, there's a new building of some kind, with a rather impressive-looking steel arched frame in front. We'll have to figure that one out soon enough.
Also on South Gloster, Dossett Big Four recently completed a not-inexpensive remodeling of its dealership.
And if you've been keeping up on our Biz Buzz blog on our Web site at www.nems360.com, it appears McDonald's will be moving to a new location on South Gloster sometime in the near future.
At Crosstown, CVS is making progress on its pharmacy, making its first inroad into Tupelo, where Walgreens, its chief competitor, has three locations (including one recently opened near North Mississippi Medical Center on South Gloster.)
On the other side of McCullough Boulevard is where the excitement builds even more.
A LaQuinta hotel is being built at the former Village Inn. Up the road, a Comfort Suites successfully earlier this year, along with a Steak Escape. Just south of the hotel will be Crye-Leike's new home.
Head toward the mall, and off to the right, behind Titan Storage, is the long-awaited Vista Ridge apartment complex. It's been in the development stages for years, but construction crews have been onsite for weeks, clearing the way for much-needed apartments.
Continue driving north, and take a look at Tupelo Commons. OK, so the Hampton Inn amp& Suites is on delay until this summer, and word is that one of the other three proposed hotels for the area has pulled out. But FAA Federal Credit Union is reportedly going to go in the courtyard buildings behind the theater, making it the first tenant.
And if you've been around the mall area over the weekend, people are still shopping. They may or may not be buying, but they are warm bodies who have the potential to spend some money.
The Mall at Barnes Crossing itself is undergoing a slow transformation, what with the addition of several new stores in the last year or so. Work on the Jos. A. Bank store is progressing, and Ulta may very well be on its way (as Biz Buzz mentioned as well). These new stores have given a new look to the mall, a look that may eventually spread to the rest of the complex.
Let's be clear, though. We are still in a recession. There are stores and restaurants that have closed - and will close. Layoffs will continue to happen.
But if we were headed toward a Depression, nobody would be building anything. And it looks like we're doing OK.