Campaign designed to attract new Hancock Co. residents

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County Chamber of Commerce has launched a new campaign designed to bring more people to the county. The goal of the re-location campaign is to help build a strong customer base for local businesses. The hope is to keep local businesses in business.

More than 5,000 people go to work behind the gates of Hancock County's Stennis Space Center. But when they leave work, the majority of them head to homes outside of the county: 27 percent live in Pearl River County and 23 percent in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.

"We've seen the many reasons earlier this week of why we need to boost the population on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in Hancock County, in particular. If we increase the number of residents, both secondary and primary residents, that's going to create more customers for our businesses, for our hospital, for all of the products and services that we have," said Tish Williams.

Williams is Executive Director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. She and others say rebuilding the county's second home market is another way of re-populating the area.

"Second homes have been the life blood of Bay St. Louis and Hancock County going back before the civil war. And if you look at the history of Hancock County, second homes it's what's driven our economy forever," explained Chuck Benvenutti, Chairman of the Hancock Housing Resource Center.

The campaign is a mixture of print and website information, as well as special promotions that showcase homes and land available in the county. It even ties special events into the effort.

"So Second Saturday in August, you're going to hear about the dog days of summer. So we're going to be taking a Second Saturday Old Town event and tying it together with the realtors who will be having open houses at six properties in the Old Town area."

The goal is to get more people to call Hancock County home. The effort includes a lobby to attract retirees.

Hancock County along with the other two costal counties will be putting up signs that they are part of a certified retirement region. Hancock County's relocation campaign is being funded by part of a $500,000 grant from BP.

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