Pascagoula leaders need public input on improvement projects

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula leaders want input from citizens as they begin selecting the top major improvement projects for the city and how to fund the plans. The goal is to improve the quality of life and encourage economic growth in the city.

"We know Pascagoula is a great place to live, work and play, but there are many things that we need to do and do differently to move forward," said Pascagoula Mayor Jim Blevins.

Blevins said a seven page rough draft of potential projects should help Pascagoula move forward toward success.

"We have taken a list of $70 million worth of projects we put together with the help our businesses and citizens. We refined that down to $30 million, but that is still a huge list, and we still have some work to do on it," Blevins said.

Councilwoman Brenda Simkins said her constituents want projects that focus on road improvements as well as fixing drainage and sewer woes.

"We have an inordinate amount of businesses and individuals that have repetitive loss from flooding, and for us to maintain the tax base and expand that we are going to have to address those issues," Simkins said.

Blevins believes cracking down on derelict properties is paramount.

"Cleaning up dilapidated projects is one of the items we have gotten a lot of input from citizens. Bel Air Shopping Mall would be one example, but there are many others," said Blevins.

The city is also considering building a sportsplex.

"It could be five, seven, eight or even $10 million to allow for better fields, soccer, football many other sports we have in our city for both adults and young people," Blevins said.

City officials said they're still brainstorming on how it will pay for the millions in projects.

"One of the options we are certainly considering is taking a 20 year bond to accomplish some of these large projects. We can't do with the normal revenue stream," Blevins said.

Pascagoula citizens and business owners are encouraged to attend the city council meeting on April 15 and give their input on the proposed projects. A work session will be held April 22 at 5 p.m.

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