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MDA launches pilot aimed at improving strip malls

JACKSON — The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has rolled out its pilot Retail Center Revitalization Program. The pilot program is designed to test the effectiveness of partnering local units of government with retail center owners to make improvements to certain shopping centers, commonly referred to as “strip malls,” in a way that contributes to ongoing coordinated revitalization efforts in local communities.

“We have made real progress in helping our communities revitalize their downtown areas, but in many cases, you still have to drive past rundown strip centers to get there,” said MDA executive director Leland Speed. “To better attract visitors and economic development projects, we need to look at improving the routes into our communities, as well.”

Limited grant funds are associated with the pilot Retail Center Revitalization Program, which is designed to support retail center revitalization projects in conjunction with private funding sources. Only Mississippi’s planning and development districts (PDDs) may apply for the grant funds. Awards are limited to a maximum of $50,000.

In order to participate, PDDs must partner with a local unit of government and the owner of the strip center to fund a retail center revitalization project. This local team must contribute a minimum of 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, improving a building’s façade, developing green spaces and improving parking areas.

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