LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Long Beach is a city on the move. That's the message from Mayor Billy Skellie, who gave his annual State of the City address Thursday morning at a Chamber sponsored breakfast.
About 100 people gathered at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus for the presentation, which began with the mayor praising the relationship between USM and the city. Both continue to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
"They hung in there, we hung in there with them, and we're seeing a beautiful campus return, and I'm just totally excited. I believe the campus is going beyond what it was," Skellie said.
He added that people are also moving back and relocating in the city. "This year, we had 37 residential building permits. Doesn't sound like much maybe in Gulfport, or in some larger city, but that was a pretty good movement for us," the mayor explained.
He couldn't help but brag a bit about a recent report citing the city's quality of life.
"Long Beach was selected number one for one of the ten best places in Mississippi. Now, I like that number one, I'm big on that."
The harbor, though, remains the focal point in Long Beach.
"Our harbor remains one of our greatest economic engines in the city. When people look at our city and they try and locate and think about locating, most of the time the harbor plays a part in it," Skellie said.
While the mayor touted all the good things happening in Long Beach, and the continued recovery from Hurricane Katrina nine years ago, he also said now is the time to get the word our about the city.
"There's no better time than now to market our city. And I think that we're prepped. I think we are in the position to do more, more development, and I think that people are noticing us. I feel like we're on a pretty good roll right now," Skellie told the crowd.
As part of the program, the city's police officer, dispatcher, and firefighter of the year were recognized. Also honored was the citizen of the year.