What Happened To Downtown Development?

Rare jewelry is just one of the things Katherine Lochridge sells at her antique store in the heart of downtown. She opened her store just eight months ago after moving back home to Pascagoula.

"I'm very interested in the downtown area because I remember what it use to be like, and I loved it then," Lochridge said.

Since opening her doors, Lochridge says its been hard to figure out the city's future plans for the area and if those plans works for her business.

"I think their heart is in the right place, but I think there has been some lag that I would like see removed. I think we need to go beyond where we are now."

Lochridge says several major issues must be decided before any downtown plan can move forward, issues like the canopy, marketing, and if the city will hire a full-time person to promote growth.

"I believe they need a staff person, in the form of economic development or Main Street or both to support our efforts."

Lochridge says she is taking her concerns to the city council despite being told by other small businesses owner it was a waste of time.

"So they encouraged me not to do anything because I wouldn't get much gain. I'm just new enough, since I just returned recently. I feel like it's important."

Lochridge knows, not everything can be decided at one city council meeting, but she hopes it will inspire city officials to move forward.

Mayor Cole said he's looking forward to hearing from Ms. Lochridge. Cole said it will take input from the entire downtown community to work through several major issues facing the area's growth.

By Ken Flanagan

Online Producer Glenn Cummins