GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Gautier city leaders voted to move forward with the application process to request funding for the Singing River Mall property Tuesday. The city and Jackson County Board of Supervisors will submit an application for funding through the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund (GCRF).
Governor Phil Bryant signed SB2002 into law on September 5, 2018, establishing the GCRF. The fund is used for projects that could bring in extra money to Gulf Coast cities.
The city’s Grants and Projects Department recommended the city work with the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to offer more incentives to potential developers. Those incentives can include TIF or tax incentive financing.
The Mississippi Development Authority will accept application for projects until August 2, 2019. The applications must be reviewed and submitted to the Legislature by December 1, 2019. The Legislature will determine which entities get funding during the 2020 legislative session.
Gautier Mayor Phil Torjusen said if the city receives the funds, it plans to purchase the Singing River Mall property. He said this would make it easier to bring in potential developers.
“It would be a complete mixed-use property is what I see out there. I see a grocery store, some clothing retail, a possible theater, housing. I see a mixture of everything. Very similar to the Inlet down there but much more," Mayor Torjusen said.
Ward 3 Councilman Casey Vaughan said, “Restore applications are due in August. The City of Gautier is planning its application around development of a town center or downtown area. Currently, the City of Gautier’s development is along Highway 90, and being a young city, we do not have a town center or downtown area."
Vaughan says a downtown area will greatly benefit the town.
"Having a downtown area makes the city more viable and more marketable both from an economic development perspective and a retail perspective. The city is seeking partnership with the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to incentivize development in its town center. This is necessary, whether or not its restore application is submitted or approved, to attract economic development. The city will approve its final restore application when its completed sometime in July,” he explained.
The property is currently owned by a local Coast resident and Morrison Companies out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Read more about the GCRF and what it means for the City of Gautier here.