PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The mayor spoke to a large gathering of the Pass Christian Chamber of Commerce. They listened intently while McDermott talked about the successes and challenges facing the city.
The new city hall under construction is a source of pride, according to the mayor. "First of all, the city hall and library over there, that's a six million dollar complex, 4.3 million of that is grant." the mayor said.
The highlight of the city's waterfront, the small craft harbor, is almost finished, McDermott said. "The harbor down here had 1.5 million dollars spent on it, everybody on the coast talks about how good the harbor looks." "The only thing we have to do is on the northwest corner, we need to build a new ramp where you can lower your boats."
The downtown area, nearly leveled by Katrina, is on the rebound. "The downtown revitalization is one we've been waiting to get started on and it has been started in small portions, we've taken utilities and made small moves."
The mayor says the city's finances are much better now, thanks to one thing. "There's one more I kept telling you about, and you don't have to look for it no more, right there on the east end, it's called Walmart and it's open." The store is delivering about 50-thousand dollars a month in sales tax revenue to the city.
The streets, many of them crushed by Katrina's storm surge, will be rebuilt this year, the mayor told Chamber members. "So we know how we're going to get the streets paved this way because the utilities are going to go in and that's going to be a mess till they get done and then they're going to get completely repaved."
The mayor says the biggest challenge facing city is getting storm displaced residents to come back home. "The problem on the coast is getting people back and getting jobs back here because that's what we need."