The Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal laid out its plans Wednesday afternoon. It, along with hundreds of key players, is preparing to begin the long and arduous process of creating a new and improved South Mississippi.
Local leaders we spoke with say they see this week-long workshop as an opportunity to look beyond what has happened, and focus on what is yet to come.
"We've begun making plans for the future prior to the hurricane. What this does is gives us an opportunity to put some of those plans into motion. There were also plans that we had put on the shelf for lack of funding. We can now take those plans off the shelf, dust them off and see what we can do to move forward with it," Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop said.
And it is those types of plans this group of not only city leaders, but bankers, architects, and developers will discuss in the coming months.
The commission wanted to get input from experts in their respective fields in order to help everyone reap the benefits.
"I think this is just a great opportunity to gather input from a lot of people from a lot of different levels around what we can do on the coast. How we can truly make a real difference in the growth and the expansion and the rebuilding of the coast," Dupont-Delisle manager Pat Nichols said.
So over the next few months, this team will be responsible for developing the foundation of the renewed Mississippi Gulf Coast. It will then be up to the public to decide if these plans will become a reality.
"Everybody's got a role, everybody's got a piece of this, everybody's gonna have buy into this process, and I think it's a great process and the best way to move our coast forward," Coast Chamber president Duncan MacKenzie said.
In the coming weeks, town hall meetings will be held to discuss the future of South Mississippi with the public.
The first of these meetings is scheduled at the Orange Grove Community Center on October 19th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.