Hancock County rolls out welcome mat for beach vendors - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hancock County rolls out welcome mat for beach vendors

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HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The beaches in Hancock County are about to see activity they have never seen before. Under a new ordinance approved by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, beach vendors can now legally set up shop on the beach-front.

Historically vendors, like those who rent Jet skis or sell hot-dogs, were prohibited from setting up on the beach. Now there is a history making measure many people say will change the landscape on the beach forever.

Briana Salyers says her yearly visit to Hancock County always includes a trip to the beach. She says she and her children enjoy the white sand, but other than playing on it or going for a swim there is little else to do there.

"I'd love for them to add like some kayak or banana boats or the jet skies, because there would be more activity and more for families to do," said Salyers, a Kentucky native.

Giving the community and tourists more to do is what the new ordinance aims to do. It opens the doors to commercial beach vendors such as Jet ski, aqua-cycle and kayak rentals, as well as umbrella and food vendors too.

"It's a first, it's a first for Hancock County," said Lisa Cowand.

Cowand is President of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. She says initially only three areas along the county's seven mile stretch of beach front will be open to vendors.

"There are only certain areas where vending will be allowed. The two heaviest generators will be Washington Street and Coleman. We already have established parking lots there," explained Cowand.

"We look very carefully not to put it in front of residential districts. I think the lack of parking in those areas is going to preclude it anyway," said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.

Fillingame went on to say, it's the move by county supervisors that will give Hancock County beaches a competitive edge.

"In order to get the beach going public to come to our beaches, of course you've got to have all of the amenities that they are looking for which includes all of that commercial activity," said Fillingame.

County leaders say anyone interested in operating a business on the beach is asked to contact the board of supervisors' office at 228-467-0172.

They say there is already a list of interested vendors.

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