HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Development Authority is looking to bring jobs to different parts of the state, including Hancock County.
This week, MDA awarded $250,000 to Stennis International Airport through the Premier Site program, with a goal to attract capital investment to the region.
“This master planning effort is trying to get actual facilities that people can move into and locate their business in," said Janell Carothers, chief development officer of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.
She said the money will help build on nearly 850 acres-wide along Highway 603 and I-10.
“We have about $250,000 allocated to the effort so the $250,000 grant from Mississippi Development Authority practically doubles our budget," said Carothers. “We would finish out development along the runway. Right now, we have absolutely no available hangar space at Stennis International Airport.”
A major aspect of the plan is a $1 million square-foot distribution center, which Carothers described as "a hub for things like markets, stores, other commodities that need to be located... to give them somewhere to be.”
MDA’s funds will also toward finding ways to preserve the natural landscape near the airport.
“We acquired the property a year and a half ago and going through environmental due diligence before master planning the site,"said Carothers.
She noted that the commission is taking a holistic approach to industrial development. The group of developmental leaders listened in as a representative from Unabridged Architecture explained all options for construction on sensitive areas.
Carothers stated, “We’re looking at different factors like base flood elevation, wetlands, soil types to figure out what’s best to actually develop and what’s best to actually preserve.”
Carothers says the focus on industry and environment is helping to put Mississippi on the right path to sustainable innovation.
The Mississippi Development Authority awarded 17 site developments across the state totaling more than $2.7 million.