Biloxi, D'Iberville To Launch Weed & Seed

In Jeannette Cressman's case, economic revitalization meant transforming an old run down building on Howard Avenue into a new hair salon. The difference is like night and day.

"It look bad, so now building fixed nice and everybody stops by here and say, 'oh this used to be run down building.' It was almost tore down," Cressman says.

Giving shabby buildings new life in East Biloxi and D'Iberville is one goal of the Weed and Seed program. The U.S. Justice Department started Weed and Seed in 1991. It's a strategy of pulling resources together to encourage fighting crime and improving citizens lives.

One way to do that is partnering with organizations like the boys and girls club; keeping kids involved in positive activities and off the streets. Lester Mitchell is the Boys & Girls Club Director of Development.

"We're hoping to give them the things that they need to go out in the future and work within their community to aid in economic revitalization in the area."

Weed and Seed also stresses community policing. Biloxi officers routinely visit neighborhoods across the city to conduct community surveys to hear people's concerns.

Officers Daryl Kosturock and Tom Lamb stopped by Henry Beck Park to talk to a group of people playing cards.

"What could the community do better to make the community better for themselves," Kosturock asked.

Joyce Ceasar answered, "Open up a homeless shelter. There's a lot of problems with homeless people. Yeah and people's on drugs, instead of puttin' 'em in jail, you should try to help 'em."

Harrison County is applying for a federal grant of up to a million dollars over five years to launch Weed and Seed. The money is split between law enforcement and the agencies involved.