Saucier Residents Weigh In On Future

The city of Saucier has a "down home country" feel. And one resident would not mind maintaining that feeling as the community prepares to move forward post-Hurricane Katrina.

"I think Saucier speaks for itself. It's a nice 'country,' you know what I'm saying. We like to keep it that way. We don't want it too populated up here. But other than that we could use a few jobs up here," said Jay Piet.

M.C. Wheeler, who opened up his tire business in Saucier three days before the storm, believes the city needs something that it lacked pre-Katrina.

"We need a supermarket. Why? So we can get meat and supplies. We have to drive to Wiggins, and most of the time we go to Wiggins to keep from getting into traffic in Gulfport," said Wheeler.

And quite a few Saucier residents agree with these suggestions.

More than 125 people gathered at the Saucier Civic Center Thursday evening to voice their opinions on how they would like to see their city develop.

They met with a team of students and professionals from Ohio State University that is focused on helping unincorporated cities.

And through listening and seeing what residents prefer, they are devising plans to perhaps turn these ideas into a reality.

But during their brief stay, the students are experiencing quite a reality themselves.

"The students have learned a lot. First, learning about the level of devastation. What we saw on TV does not reflect what the reality is here and hearing the personal stories of people and how they have been affected by the hurricane. It's been really moving and educational. At the same time, the sense of optimism and hope that the people of Mississippi have has been amazing," said project manager Jennifer Cowley.

Hopefully, that optimism and hope will be channeled into designing a better future for all of South Mississippi.

The students will leave on Sunday, but will return to South Mississippi in March with a final presentation for the community and the Board of Supervisors.