Pascagoula Officials Seek Ways To Revitalize Carver Village Land

In January, the City of Pascagoula tore down the hurricane ravaged Live Oak Apartments, still known to many as Carver Village.

Months later, the city called on the Urban Land Institute Planning Service to help brainstorm possibilities for the 22 acre site.

"It turns out it has lots of possibilities," Urban Land Institute Chairman Laurin McCarcken said.

Thursday morning, officials and residents found out just what can be done to revitalize the Carver Village area.

"In certain scenarios you want to have a community center and a YMCA, with some limited retail. Another scenario is a full retail site," marketing consultant Russell Arcahambault.

Arcahambault says the site has the possibility of being a Mecca for entertainment and fun.

"The community is screaming for opportunities for families to get out to have certain functions, retail, shopping, dining."

But McCraken says the city has to start marketing themselves to attract more developers, and national chains.

"You are obliviously losing business to other communities around here. It's time to put those businesses here and keep those business here."

The group also recommends that officials concentrate on, not just Carver Village, but on the city's post-Katrina recovery as a whole.

"It is a hard working-class community with lots of jobs and different pricing of housing," Arcahambault said.

"Pascagoula has so much to proud of and this site can just a play a continuing role in the growth of Pascagoula,"McCracken said.

City officials say one hurdle they face is due to HUD Restrictions, they are prohibited from developing residential property on the land. But there is one exception: residential property can be built if at least 200 low income units are constructed.

City officials say they will work to get that restriction changed.