Ocean Springs businesses show off new facelifts

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The inside of Pleasant's Bar-B-Q in downtown Ocean Springs was remodeled two years ago. Now, the outside of the restaurant is undergoing its first major renovation.

"We're going to extend our little patio over here.  Get a little seating, outdoor seating, so people can enjoy the barbecue, as well as the breeze," said owner Michael Pleasant.

The building will also get a new coat of paint, along with flowers and plants. Pleasant is using money from the city's Facade Grant Program to help him pay for the improvements.

"We're sprucing up the downtown area and the funds were available, so why not take advantage of it?" Pleasant said.

The Ocean Springs Facade Grant totaled $20,000 and the money came from the city's general fund. Thirty five businesses west of Martin Luther King Drive applied for the funds. Thirteen businesses were awarded a matching grant, up to $2,500 each, to fund the facelifts.

"The intent was to give an incentive to some of our small business owners to spruce up the outside of their buildings, whether it be awnings, lighting, signage, and maybe a little landscaping," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.  "It's a beautiful result. Certainly an improvement. We're very pleased with it."

The transformations are quite noticeable. The historic Saul's Building on Washington Avenue has fresh paint, new awnings and cornices. The owners of Shady's Restaurant on Government Street used their grant money for a new patio and landscaping.  And the grant helped turn a former auto parts business into a new club.

Business owners say minor changes can make a big difference.

"Beautifying. People come to see all the improvements and they like to walk around and try what the town has to offer," Pleasant said.

While the Facade Grant came from the city, the Ocean Springs Chamber was in charge of deciding who gets the money and how much. The businesses have to complete their projects within 90 days.

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