D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - We've all heard the saying, if you build it, they will come. That's exactly what city leaders in D'Iberville are hoping for when the Scarlet Pearl Casino opens by the end of 2015. But they want something else as well. More things for tourists to see and do, besides gaming.
When the Scarlet Pearl opens, thousands of tourists will flock to D'Iberville for a look, and officials at city hall want them to like what they see.
Jeff Taylor is the city's economic development director.
"We're also moving really hard on our waterfront and our French Market development, which requires investment and also some public infrastructure to create a larger destination than the casino itself," Taylor explained.
He added that Mother Nature will play a role as well.
"Part of that is the whole Tchoutacabouffa River Blueway/Greenway that's going to be similar to other paddleways in the country that helps support ecotourism."
The city plans an aggressive marketing campaign touting the city as a shopping destination, both at The Promenade and Lakeview Village. That sits well with store owners and managers. One of them is Kristy Morton.
"I believe it will be a great draw, especially with the Galleria opening up. With casinos, people need to take a break sometime and go do other things, and shopping is one of the main things they like to do," Morton said.
One of the biggest non-gaming tourist attractions the city of D'Iberville is working on right now has nothing to do with shopping, has nothing to do with ecotourism, or the enjoyment of nature. It has everything do with hitting, or kicking a ball. It's a $4 million sportsplex that's under construction on Highway 15.
"They come in here and they stay on site or they can stay on our local hotels, but they bring a lot of revenue into the city and hundreds of players," City Manager Bobby Eleuterius explained.
City leaders also believe in spreading the wealth.
"The gulf coast is a package and we're part of that, and we can only do so much to hold them in D'Iberville. So, hopefully, the gulf coast will help hold them," Taylor said.
City officials also say the opening of the CTA transit hub in a few months will help bring even more people into the city for a look around.
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