For years, Pascagoula city leaders have been working on plans to revitalize the city's historic downtown. Now those plans are being put into action. Dozens of downtown shops and businesses are undergoing major face lifts.
For more than 40 years, the Merchants and Marine Bank building has stood as a landmark Pascagoula's historic downtown. Later this year, the bank will be torn down to make way for a new building.
"Obviously it means a lot to us, but it's also meant a lot to some other folks and it's spurred some growth in the downtown area," says Merchant and Marine President Royce Cumbest.
A law office at the corner of Pascagoula Street and Delmas Avenue is the newest business to join in the revitalization efforts.
"We wanted to improve the look of our building, which is right on the corner of Pascagoula Street and Delmas, very visible," said Attorney Larry Smith. "We feel like we kinda followed what other people are doing and hope people will continue to make improvements to downtown Pascagoula."
Smith says he and his partners wanted to change the exterior of their office to give it a more traditional look that would fit in with the changes to the downtown area.
"This is generally, in the Deep South and along the Coastal Region, the look that's been historically in this area and we want to continue that trend," says Smith.
Shops and offices aren't the only things that have undergone facelifts. In the last two years, the city has spent thousands of dollars laying brick tile walkways, planting trees and flowers, and hanging decorations in Delmas Plaza. Long time downtown merchant Joe Stout likes what he's seeing.
"A little bit starts happening and people see improvements and they want to be part of it," says Stout.
"It seems to be gathering momentum," says Royce Cumbest. "We've seen a lot of interest."
By making improvements, businesses hope to draw more attention and people downtown.