BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The announcement of a new 13.5 million dollar harbor project ignited a lot of enthusiasm in the Bay.
"I'm excited about it; I can't wait for them to start on it," says Carol Strohmedz of Bay St. Louis.
"What we envision happening here is bringing back tourism, community revitalization and job creation," says Jon Mabry, CEO for Mississippi Development Authority's Disaster Recovery.
The millions building the new harbor will offer a docking point for new restaurants, shops and small businesses. Maybry says small businesses will also benefit from a five million dollar loan program. Mayor Eddie Farve says this project is crucial to growth downtown.
"Until we can get all of our businesses back and rebuild downtown like it use to be, we're not going to have a Bay St. Louis like we had before," says Farve.
"Our downtown merchants have been working their butts off and struggling, so this certainly should help," says Teri Velardi, Bay St. Louis.
With the harbor's help, the city is hoping to keep out-of-towners coming to the city.
"We're not looking at this with the idea that local boats or very many local boats will be housed here. It's going to bring in people from out of town and out of state and out of the area," says Farve.
People who've moved to Bay St. Louis like Teri Velardi say they see progress coming.
"Once we get the Beach Boulevard, the seawall and the harbor, there's no question this place is going to pop," Velardi says.
While ready for things to move forward, Mabry says construction isn't slated to start just yet. Plans, environmental surveys and permits must be approved before the harbor can get off the ground. But when it gets moving, Mayor Farve says there's one sure thing to follow.
"When they come, they're coming to spend money."