Diamondhead Businesses Expanding Into Once Rural Areas

The once isolated retirement community of Diamondhead is lonely no more. More than 200 new homes will be added by year's end, a record increase after many years of steady growth. And with more homes and more people, come more businesses.

Judy Wise has lived off of Kapalama Drive behind Diamondhead for 36 years. In that time her once rural view has certainly changed.

"This use to be a pig farm. My husband's father raised pigs and he had cows and he had goats. It just used to be a rural farm place and now it's all business."

But Wise says she welcomes her new commercial neighbors.

"It's convenient. When you need something, you just walk across the street to do it."

"The fitness center has been booming and it's only been open four months," David Malley said.

Fitness, fancy coffee and pampering for pets are just a few of the new offerings around Diamondhead in the last five years.

David Malley owns much of the land being developed.

"Within the next six months, you're going to see a lot more activity back here," Malley said.

A car wash will soon make its home next to a horse stable. It's a sign of how development is changing the landscape of rural Hancock County.

"The residential side of Diamondhead, they tend to be more urban. Where as just behind Diamondhead are a very large number of people who have chosen over the years to live in a rural setting, and of course the two are now coming together," Diamondhead Property Owners Association President Lloyd Ramirez said.

Malley echoed his words.

"It's a unique mixture, but everyone seems to get along real well back here. We don't have any conflicts."

Blending rural lifestyle with a thriving business community is how this part of Hancock County is making its future.

According to leaders with the Diamondhead POA, the community has about 170 businesses now located around Diamondhead.

by Al Showers