Good schools, low crime and a rich history. Those are all high scoring points in Snapshot 2002. Study Coordinator Julia Weaver says, "They like the small town character, the charm, the ease of getting from one thing to another and the big city amenities."
Weaver is a consultant who voluntarily put together the survey. She says among the things the city needs to improve, recreation stands out. "People want more walking and biking paths. People would like to see more recreational amenities. We talked about the need for sidewalks and the need for more shade." That means planting more of the beautiful moss draped trees that line the downtown streets in other parts of the city. "When you get to other areas of Ocean Springs some neighborhoods look like they could be anywhere. We really wanna extend the tree canopy to other areas of town," Weaver says.
The Ocean Springs Chamber is a partner in the study. "This was something for future growth, for future planning," says director Margaret Miller. She says none of the findings are surprising and now it's time to capitalize on the city's positives and strengthen its weaknesses. "The things we'll be addressing we'll go back to the entities that are currently in place for them to take a look at and we're gonna make some recommendations but certainly it will be for them to make the decision as to where we'll move forward."
Snapshot 2002 finds that the Ocean Springs economy is diverse. There are mixed reviews on the cost of living. The report also recommends a new comprehensive zoning plan and launching a civic education campaign in the city.