Building a better downtown

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Workers prepped the ground Saturday afternoon as the latest downtown revitalization project took root.

Mayor Connie Moran said, "We'll be creating a new tree canopy, very similar to what we already have on Washington."

Live oak tress, according to Moran, about 25 feet tall will soon line Government Street. A total of 24 tress will provide much needed shade for those who stroll through to shop and eat. It's yet another beautification effort to drive more foot traffic downtown.

As people drive into downtown, they'll soon have more places to park. There's already a finished parking lot tucked away off Desoto Street. Construction will also get underway on a new parking lot just west of Pleasant's Barbecue.

"In addition to that we've created about another 70 parking spaces on Government Street in between the trees that you see," said Moran.

For those who prefer not to hop behind the wheel, there will soon be more than one direct stop into downtown. In addition to the trolley stop at train depot, Coast Transit Authority is setting up a total of four trolley stops downtown.

"One at the train depot, the Mary C. O'Keefe, one on Martin Luther King Blvd. and one at Phoenicia's. At the end and near the transit stops, we'll also have kiosks that help people find where they are, benches, trash receptacles and some more flowers planters," said Moran.

To fulfill the city's goal of becoming more walker friendly, work is also underway to improve sidewalks. At crosswalks, the work will focus on better connecting sidewalks to streets. The mayor said it will be a big help for those with physical disabilities.

The final phases of revitalization will also target downtown fixtures less pleasing to the eye. Utility poles in some portions of the street will soon go underground.

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