OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Local and state officials lined up to cut the ribbon and officially welcome the Roost Boutique Hotel to historic downtown Ocean Springs.
The six-bedroom inn was constructed in 1894, but recent updates have given the hotel a face lift to suit today's guests. A local restaurant is connected to the hotel.
Elected officials, like Sen. Roger Wicker believe a new hotel in a location like downtown Ocean Springs is one of the first steps in attracting more visitors to the Coast. More people coming from out of town could mean greater developments across the board.
"This is a great tourism opportunity and I think we're only scratching the surface," said Wicker.
In Washington, Wicker has been pushing for more small business development and bigger job opportunities for Mississippi.
"To me this combines historic preservation, this combines tourism, job creation, small business, so many of the things we're trying to encourage at the national level," said Wicker.
In addition to hosting weekend visitors, the hotel will be the permanent home of a public art display. Local artist Chris Stelby was commissioned to design a new mural for the city of Ocean Springs. He says he hopes his display will bring the community together by building bridges and tearing down walls.
The hope is that the new installation will get people interested in the arts. Cynthia Sutton of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce is thrilled that the piece will be available for the residents to see.
"Art is part of economic development, so we are very honored to have the Anderson family continue that tradition in Ocean Springs," said Sutton.
Once the display is complete, it will sit on the east side of the hotel for passers-by to see.
The hotel had a soft open in April, but today was the official grand opening. Roxy Condrey, co-owner of the Roost, says her hotel is already serving its purpose in the community.
"It's been so well received by the public, we have been really happy to see that the tourists that are coming to the area, some of them have not visited Ocean Springs before. So it's been nice to see people introducing this into their vacation plan and stopping now in Mississippi." said Condrey.