Pascagoula's new economic development director has a vision for - - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula's new economic development director has a vision for the city

economic development director (Photo source: WLOX) economic development director (Photo source: WLOX)

Moving Pascagoula into the future. That's the goal for Billy Lawson, the city's new economic development director. He's been on the job less than a week, but he already has a vision for the city.

Lawson is a man on a mission to continue the growth spurt that Pascagoula has seen the past several years. The job begins on the city's expansive waterfront.

“When you think of One Coast and you think of the City of Pascagoula, people think of coastal living. So, it's very important to have that ready, beautiful, and open for people to use and live,” Lawson explained. 

He feels that small business is the backbone of any city.

“We have Anchor Square, and that's a small business incubator. A great opportunity, low cost, low risk for somebody who really wants to give it a good go. You can start there, and build your business,” Lawson said. 

For him, recreational opportunities play a key role.

“Parks and rec is very important in the big scheme of things, because it affects quality of life, no matter what age groups. Parks and rec goes across all age groups and boundaries.”  

Another part of Lawson's vision for Pascagoula is making it a tourist destination. The Round Island Lighthouse could play a key role in achieving that goal.

“I think it can be a big draw. We just recently had, before I even started here, there was a great event, a kayaking event out on the water,” Lawson recalled. 

What about the future of the city's main business corridor, Market St.? That will have to wait, according to Lawson.

“The current administration and new administration is going to work together. They're going to have the best ideas from the citizens, and they're going to move forward in the best way based on what our citizens want,”Lawson said. 

While doing all this, the city has to stay clean and beautiful, according to Lawson.  

“It's the first impression, especially for someone who has never been here. When you drive, it matters.”

The 47-year-old earned his MBA from Upper Iowa University while serving in the Army. He's been on the coast for 20 years. Prior to joining Pascagoula, he managed military housing complexes.

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