Bay St. Louis trying to lure new residents

Published: Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2013 at 10:54 AM CST
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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Bay St. Louis is trying to convince more people to make that city their home. The latest census numbers show Bay St. Louis is the fastest growing Mississippi city of those with a population of more than 1,000 people. City officials hope to build on that and in the Spring will start rolling out a series of promotional videos that showcase what Bay St. Louis has to offer potential new residents.

Diana Fillhart runs a cafe in Downtown in Bay St. Louis. She arrived in here 10 days after Hurricane Katrina as a volunteer, fell in love with the local flavor, and decided to stay.

"It's an area that embraces people. When you come here, it's not like 'us' and 'them.' It's open arms," said Fillhart.

A production company is putting together promotional videos that highlight Bay St. Louis both as a tourist destination and as a place to call home.

Mayor Les Fillingame said, "We've grown a full 11 percent since 2010. There's a lot of reasons for that. We were very aggressively putting our infrastructure back in the ground and repairing roadways and all of the amenities that were required to get people to comfortably to build back here."

"We're not only recovered from that, but we are in a full scale revitalization and renaissance," said Fillingame.

The population growth is being felt in the local real estate market. Realtors said any house in the downtown area sells quickly, and they're taking calls from people from New York to California interested in moving to Bay St. Louis.

"They usually come here to visit a friend or something and then they develop an interest in the town and then they'll come around and they'll look around a little bit," Realtor Don Buisson said. "I'd say five out of ten of them will buy something here."

As far as building up the population, some people say the more the merrier.

"I think we shouldn't be a secret. When you hear people say secret it's like secrets are things people don't talk about. So I think we should be talking more about the people and the opportunities," said Fillhart.

Bay St. Louis officials said the promotional videos will be available on the city website and other websites.

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