Opportunity is knocking at our door
The owners of the new Hampton Inn in Yazoo City never thought they’d be building a hotel in Yazoo.
I never thought I’d be so excited to see one coming.
The immediate benefits from the new Hampton are obvious – over 20 new jobs, a new source of tax revenue and a more upscale facility that includes a much needed 1,500 square foot meeting room. We’ll immediately start seeing business people like visiting employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons staying in our town immediately. We’ll also start seeing a lot more family and class reunions here in Yazoo.
Those are just the instant benefits. The most significant impact on this town is that the opening of the Hampton Inn was like driving the golden spike for future development. Yazoo desperately needs a new avenue for new development, and the Willie Morris Parkway represents that opportunity.
Jerry Clower Boulevard is running out of available real estate. Fifteenth Street has some available business space, but it suffers from congestion. Fortunately that will be greatly relieved when the Willie Morris Parkway is completed near the Hampton Inn.
Downtown Yazoo has great potential for additional development, but not the kind of development that the parkway will attract. I believe downtown Yazoo will ultimately benefit from the new life the Willie Morris Parkway will breathe into this city.
The mostly unsung hero of this deal is Henry Cote, president of Yazoo’s Chamber of Commerce and director of our Development District. Cote not only saw the potential for this future parkway and the opportunities for development that it brings to Yazoo, he also sold it. Suresh Chawla said that he and his father, Dr. V.K. Chawla, came to Yazoo as a courtesy when asked by Cote to look at what the city had to offer, but he said they didn’t believe there was a chance they’d actually want to build a hotel here. Suresh Chawla told me on Monday that he thought Cote was crazy at first when he showed him the site where the hotel is now being built.
I thought the same thing when I first heard the idea about the parkway, but fortunately for Yazoo the Chawlas are smart enough to recognize a real opportunity when they see one. They purchased 50 acres contingent on a deal that 10 acres was donated to the city to construct the parkway. That is very likely the most significant development in economic development to take place in Yazoo so far this decade. We are very fortunate to have someone of Cote’s caliber here in Yazoo City.
Chawla envisions new restaurants and businesses lining the parkway once it’s built. Some restaurants have already expressed interest. And of course many Yazooans are salivating at the prospect of a Wal-Mart. The parkway is the best chance for that to happen.
The possibilities are many, and they are very exciting for a city that is in serious need of a shot in the arm.
Opportunity is knocking. Let's get this parkway built so we can answer the door.