Millions headed into Hancock County

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour has announced Hancock County will receive $60 million in Ground Zero grant money. So far, Hancock County has seen $145 million in Ground Zero grants, and is expected to eventually get $200 million.

The money comes from the $5.4 billion in federal money awarded to the state for Hurricane Katrina recovery projects.

Bay St. Louis got enough money for all of its priority projects, including improvements to Longfellow Road.

"That is one of the major corridors between Bay St. Louis and Highway 603. We're looking at a $3 million project with improvements to the road such as widening and enclosing the ditches," said Buzz Olsen, Bay St. Louis Director of Administration.

Among the seven funded projects, the Boys and Girls Club, historic city hall and the historic depot building will all receive more than a million dollars.

"We're trying to get all our historic buildings back to where they need to be and those are expensive ventures," Olsen said.

Farther west in Waveland, Mayor Tommy Longo says his city will receive $5 million for improvements to its pier, lighthouse and harbor complex. Other projects include $3 million for a new community center and more than $12 million for a new fire and police complex.

"They were very undersized pre-Katrina. Now, the fire complex needs to not only cover the area it did pre-Katrina, but also the new annexed area," Longo said.

The mayor said money will also be used to provide utilities to residents living in the western portion of Waveland.

As for the county, millions will be spent on the Longfellow Civic Center, the Hancock East Library and replacing fire equipment as needed, among other projects.

The biggest chunk of the $60 million, some $35 million, will go toward expanding Highway 603.