OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - While downtown Ocean Springs has seen its share of new development in recent years, other areas of the city are now seeing a commercial business boom. Several new businesses are now under construction. And after several years of less than robust growth, this new trend is most welcome.
So where is this new commercial hotspot?
"The real tax base is definitely on Highway 90 in the central part of town and the eastern edge of town," Ocean Springs Alderman Matt McDonnell explained.
Vincent Burke, the owner of In The Zone, a Christian based child care business, feels location is key.
"We wanted to be the largest privately owned child care facility in the state. And we knew that in order for that to happen, we would have to have visibility. So that's where the choice came in for Highway 90," Burke said.
City officials say this is the best it's been in years, but the question is, why?
"Maybe it's just the economy has started kicking up some. Where it's not a full rebound, we're just happy to see the growth," city building official Hilliard Fountain said.
Of course, there are many advantages to having this building boom in west Jackson County and the city of Ocean Springs. In fact, the city has taken in more than $28,000 in building permits just in the past couple of months. But perhaps the biggest advantage of all is the prospect of future jobs.
"The jobs attract people, and the more people that move into our community, the more businesses that want to come. So it's a cycle that we certainly want to see grow," McDonnell said.
Something else won't be growing though.
"The retail not only provides ad valorum tax but also sales tax," McDonnell explained. "And that tax helps us keep the property taxes low here in Ocean Springs. We haven't raised property taxes here in probably over 20 years."
In addition to the commercial development, there are four new single family home subdivisions under construction in the city of Ocean Springs.