HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On Monday, creators of the Village at Tradition passed a major milestone as they celebrated the start of construction on their first retail center. It's the first of six planned Tradition Village Centers.
Property President Gerald Blessey said a grassy spot on the edge of an eight acre lake will be where their first village center will take shape. This is perhaps the most important part of their long term "new urbanist" concept. The plan includes everything a family needs to have walkability and wellness in their own back, or front yards.
"With the first YMCA building fitness center and competitive swimming pool and the village market, which we're going to call Santini's Market. And it will have Old Biloxi po-boys and produce and a general store," Blessey said.
Having a Christian youth center at Tradition is huge for the entire Gulf Coast according to YMCA board member Roland Weeks.
"It's the first opportunity to spread beyond Ocean Springs to become a true part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and their plans for becoming a YMCA to cover the three coast counties, actually six coastal counties. And this is the first step in that direction," Weeks said.
Years ago, Developer Joe Canizaro had a dream years ago to make this tree filled place a town in and of itself. There are now 30 homes in the area, with an eventual 990 homes to come. And that's just on the first 300 acres.
"The 4,800 acre master planned community is a 25 year build out," Canizaro said. "We'll have 35,000 people here and 15,000 homes."
And each little 300 acre village will have its own village center like the one about to be built. Blessey said it's thrilling to watch their new urbanist vision taking shape.
"The Y's fitness center is the beginning of our core values of health and wellness, and recreation, and art, and culture, and environmental stewardship, which is really important to us," Blesssy said.
There is a walking trail already on the property. Tradition is also home to William Carey University.