Pascagoula riverfront set for multi-million dollar makeover

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The city of Pascagoula's dream of turning its hurricane damaged riverfront property into an entertainment hub is finally coming true.  For five years, the 12 acre property has been overgrown and vacant. Now, the city is spending millions on a makeover.

Tim Walker and his family enjoyed Labor Day at Pascagoula's Beach Park. Walker said he does wish there were more fun places to go in the city.

"Get more families involved on days like this to just play and be together," Walker said.

Since Hurricane Katrina, there has been talk about bringing new life to the old, 12 acre riverfront property, but it hasn't happened. Program Manager Jaci Turner said the city had to first secure the funds for the facelift and clean up the land.

"When you go back and look at what this look like five years ago; this was a derelict, nasty, old place to be. Right now, we have a clean site," Turner said.

Turner said the city is now spending $14 million in grants to build a parking garage on the property. The city will also fix the roads and add green space later this year.

"Which will spur on private investment."

Two developers are already eyeing the property to build a restaurant, hotel, and an entertainment venue along the river. Turner said their final proposals are due this week.

"Then we will be sitting down with the staff and with the council later this month on who we are going to move forward with, and do some type of lease or purchase agreement."

The city feels the plans are a perfect match for the riverfront.

"We have a view that is just unmatched anywhere in the country. You want to be able to sit and eat, and you want to be able to rent a room and stay there and enjoy it," Tuner said.

An enjoyment Tim Walker and his family can't wait to see unfold in Pascagoula.

"You don't want to live in a city that doesn't have a quality of life."

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved