Bay St. Louis Residents Debate New, Taller Downtown

It was a workshop where cities changed in a matter of seconds. With a little help from computer programs like Photoshop and Sketch-up, a 3-D program from Google, people in Bay St. Louis began to see how their city could change if it decides to build higher.

"It gives us a hands on approach to be able to visualize how our city's growing, future development and where we want it to head," Cathy Benvenutti said.

Bill Dennis works with the Governor's Commission as the head planner for Bay St. Louis. He says adding three to five story buildings downtown, trees and sidewalks can create a more enclosed feel to the community.

"The street is really an outdoor room, so you need to have walls in an outdoor room for it to feel good. But we also need to keep some of the same charm that's here," says Bill Dennis, Governor's Commission Head Planner for Bay St. Louis.

Keeping the city's charm while promoting economic growth. It's a balance Bay St. Louis is trying to strike as it decides how high to build back. Cathy Benvenutti says it's a balance people in her community want to see reached as their city rebuilds.

"I think they want an opportunity to retain the old time charm we had, and to be able to back our merchants and give them opportunities," Benvenutti said.

As for building higher, some who came out say it's good idea for the city's economic growth.

"I think you have to allow it to grow up. It's the direction to go," Michael Jones said.

For those interested in checking out the 3-D images, you can stop by the council chambers Friday from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. or from 2 to 4 p.m.