Batesville has plenty of prospects for growth

Published 10:29 am Friday, January 19, 2018

Batesville has plenty of prospects for growth

By David Magee, President

On a visit to the bank one day recently someone asked if I thought Batesville had missed out on the latest boom.
Of course not, I explained. Don’t judge a town by its Factory Stores. Some looks can be deceiving.
They explained how they had read stories about Water Valley’s revival and how all anybody can talk about is how Oxford is growing so fast that traffic jams west of town are a new normal.
That’s true, I explained. The Factory Stores fizzled, but outlets fizzled everywhere, and those Water Valley revival stories are relative to how far Water Valley’s Main Street had fallen before it came back to life.
Oxford’s emergence as one of the South’s fastest growing cities spilled first into Water Valley because it is closer and because it was struggling, creating an opportunity for $100,000 building purchases on Main Street for renovations and old homes that could be purchased for that or less.
Now, one can barely find a Main Street building or old home for sale in Water Valley because the demand has exceeded supply.
But Batesville is different because it’s Town Square never went away. Batesville is different because, despite challenges, it has remained strong at the core.
That’s why the growth is ultimately coming this way because there is too much to offer in just the right place.
That four-lane Highway 6 from Oxford and the I-55 connection to Desoto County and Memphis makes the town with the quaint square a natural for future investment.
Consider only that faculty members don’t always earn six figures, so they need affordable housing and good schools.
Consider also that location and available, skilled workforce makes Panola County highly attractive for more industry like GE.
Finally, take a walk around Batesville’s Square and you see the fabric of a community that’s still well-woven. It can get better, sure. But, the ingredients are there for a good thing to get better.
The biggest issue in Batesville right now is that development dollars haven’t arrived yet. In a seller’s market, growth is often dictated by inventory. Thus, the town needs more residential development, and it needs more quality commercial development.
But it will come because of the burgeoning regionthat will eventually help others find this gem.
David Magee is President of The Panolian. He can be reached at

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