Hundreds Show Up At First Town Hall Meeting On Rebuilding

The Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal attracted an overflow crowd at its first town hall meeting Wednesday in Gulfport. Several hundred people packed the Orange Grove Community Center.

A series of public meetings is the next step in the post-Katrina planning process in South Mississippi. The initial exchange of ideas came during the week long "charrette" sessions held in Biloxi last week.

Those involved in the process say it's important that citizens share their ideas about planning the future.

"What we're about, as the governor laid out, is a long term plan for the redevelopment and the renewal of Mississippi," Committee Chairman Anthony Topazi said.

"And that's what makes towns special. If anyone thinks about their favorite areas of the coast, everyone would hold near and dear to their hearts the old downtown areas that had a real sense of place. And making places is what this design charette is all about," Biloxi architect David Hardy said.

Wednesday's meeting in Gulfport was the first of several such sessions that will be held throughout South Mississippi in the coming days. The Commission will submit its final report to Governor Barbour on December 9th.