OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's called Destination Downtown. The City of Ocean Springs is hosting a three day Main Street conference. It's a chance for the Mississippi gulf coast to show-off its downtown success stories.
"Very much a family business still in the finest sense of that word," said Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce director, Margaret Miller, as she introduced visitors to Shearwater Pottery, one of the many area attractions conference participants will be checking out over the next three days.
Ocean Springs is hosting this regional Main Street event because of its award winning Main Street program and longtime successful downtown.
"Our train depot. Marshall Park. The Mary C. O'Keefe. Our Oak Park cottages. We're going to be showing off some of the recovery on the beach, the mural. The walk on water there with the bridge," said Miller.
Linda Phillips is among the 300 folks attending the conference. She's helping the town of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, kick off a brand new Main Street program, and Ocean Springs is providing some inspiration.
"We just want to become a wonderful Main Street community and be able to follow some of the things that Ocean Springs has done. Bring people in. 'Cause Crystal Springs is a really cute little town and we just need to get 'em in there and let them see how nice we are," said Phillips.
Visitors will not only spend time in Ocean Springs, they'll also be taking in the downtown development in Biloxi, Pascagoula and Gulfport.
Mike Ince wants to check out the restaurant and bar mix and use that knowledge to help develop a new Main Street program in Kenner, Louisiana.
"Everybody has really been supportive of it. Once you kind of educate the community as to what the Main Street program is and what it can give to your community, everybody has been right on board with it," he explained.
Conference visitors will hear from the national director of the Main Street program, Tuesday morning.
The regional conference includes participants from Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Nationwide, there are some 1100 active Main Street communities.