Gautier's new city manager ready talks plans for progress

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier's new city manager said she is ready to help make this city a thriving place to live, work and enjoy. City council members hired Samantha Abell after firing former manager Sidney Runnels late last year.

Samantha Abell is the new woman in charge of the day to day operation in Gautier. She said it's a job she said requires a strong vision.

"With the turnover of city managers in the past, with the annexation in 2002 and with Hurricane Katrina," Abell said, "I think Gautier in the past has really been a little shortsighted. We can benefit from having a good, solid five to 10 year plan."

The new city manager is no stranger to the city. She was formerly the economic director and plans to use those skills to entice more businesses to move here.

"Of course, it has been made public that the mall has some new owners and they have plans for redevelopment."

Abell said creating a more walkable downtown and building a town center are also some of the big projects in the works.

"What the city is doing, we are acquiring 32 acres just north of the mall. Our plan is to restore those tributaries and to build 10 foot wide boardwalks along the tributaries, festival lawns and an amphitheater."

Abell said promoting the natural areas and building upon the riverfront will also enhance the quality of life in the city.

"Gautier is nature's playground, and we want to capitalize on what it is we have to offer and what we do best. And that is our ecotourism," Abell said.

Changing the aged signage in the city to make it more welcoming for visitors is also on the to-do-list. With help of the mayor, city council and citizens, this new city manager believes Gautier will be a better place to live, work, and enjoy.

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