Pascagoula trades eyesore for big future plans

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX)- It looks like a normal demolition, but to Pascagoula residents, the demolition of the Heinz building on the Pascagoula River has alot of meaning.

"I think it's a symbol of progress, I really do," said Joe Stout, owner of Coast Clothing Company in downtown Pascagoula.  "I think it's a symbol of a new idea."

For years the run-down Heinz building, off of Fredrick Street and Convent Ave., has stood in the way of development along the Pascagoula River.

"It was an eyesore before," said City Manager Kay Kell.  "Since Katrina, it's been really bad, It's just been sitting there."

By knocking down this building, Pascagoula is getting ready for something some residents have heard about but never dreamed would actually happen. It's a master plan that includes a hotel, condos, restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques.  The city is creating the space necessary for such a major development.

"While the economy is going through rough times, we want to be doing the infrastructure, laying the groundwork," Kell said.  "So this is the first step, laying the property."

"This is going to be a very visible sign that something is happening," said Stout, who is also Chairman of the Pascagoula Main Street Board.  He thinks the development could benefit the entire downtown area.

"Any time that you increase selection for people, whether its for something to eat, something to wear, entertainment, a place to stay," Stout said, "it's going to help business in the long run."

But the project wont be cheap.

"It's probably going to take some real money, some investment money, probably from out of town," Stout said.  "But that's alright."

Demolishing the Heinz building allows the city to go forward with the plan.  The City is now searching for a consultant to help create a more detailed micro-plan.