Team Shows Off Final Design For New Ocean Springs

It was a hectic Monday morning at the Isle of Capri, as "Team Ocean Springs" rushed to beat the deadline to turn in its presentation.

"They're all there", announced one architect.

"We're not going to take anything down. We're just going to duplicate it," yelled another architect.

"I think it's important to put a label on the drawing," Victor Dover told the group.

Dover heads the Ocean Springs team. Just hours before the presentation, he was still putting the finishing touches on his group's plans to redesign and refine the city.

"Very challenging work. Very high speed work. It's thrilling really," Dover said.

A thrill because he has heard from the people of Ocean Springs about their dreams and ambitions to make their city even better.

One idea is to create a ferry landing at the foot of the soon-to-be built Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge. How about a street-car or trolley service that loops around the downtown area? Another proposal targets re-developing the Harbor to show off its natural beauty.

"By adding some other things like housing, a place to buy and ice cream cone, maybe a place to eat a seafood meal overlooking the harbor. It can made even more wonderful," Dover said.

One challenge is to plan for development on the East side of town, by creating business and residential hubs.

"As Bienville Blvd matures, it doesn't have to remain as a anywhere USA strip, where the boxes kind of poke out of parking lots. They can actually be a real place with classic city streets, with a robust transit system, as well as place to bike and walk and use your car."

While the team looked toward Ocean Springs' future, members were also careful to preserve the city's past.

"Ocean Springs is the model for small town charm in the region, and they're very, very fortunate to have had so little damage."

And Dover believes the city will be the first to bounce back from Katrina, and serve as a model on how to merge growth with the city's history and unique character.

Other ideas included building more affordable housing around Holcomb, redesigning Highway 90 to draw more visitors to the city, and add more bike paths and walkways.