PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A major project intended to pump new life into the heart of Pass Christian is nearing completion. The city received $10.5 million in federal grant money to spruce up its downtown That money is paying for new drainage, sidewalks and more in between Fleitas Avenue and Hiern Avenue ,and as far north as Second Street.
Mayor Chipper McDermott said although construction is winding down, the flurry of downtown activity is just beginning.
"The roads are a little torn up right now," said business owner Thomas Genin. "Like any construction project, people hit delays. Especially digging the ground up and putting pipe in the ground and drains and all that."
Mayor McDermott said drivers will see their patience pay off once the downtown street revitalization is complete in about two months. Crews are almost done with the water, sewer, and drainage. Next comes the aesthetic work.
"The new sidewalks, and curb and gutter, and the tree wells, and the decorative lights," said Mayor McDermott. "It's going to really make it look nice when that's through.
Several businesses around downtown are either under construction or permitted. The mayor said many more are waiting for construction to finish to make their move into downtown.
"When they see the new and shiny city, it inspires people to open businesses," the mayor said. "We've got a gentleman building some businesses and another piece of land right next to it is under contract. So when you shine it up and make it look good, then it's more incentive for somebody to come in and open some businesses and get some activity going."
Thomas Genin is enthusiastic about new commerce coming into the city.
"I think once it's finished, it will be a remarkable difference," he said. "Then it will definitely make the property better, give it more street appeal. Hopefully, the people that own property and the people who want to purchase property will be encouraged to break ground sooner, as opposed to later."
The owners of Shaggy's Restaurant say they're confident about the future of the downtown area. In fact, they're breaking ground on their fourth Pass Christian business in about two weeks.