The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce hosted the event so that the city’s residents could see where the city is going.
There’s a lot more dust and breaking concrete in Long Beach city limits as residents race to remove their Katrina slabs as a city ordinance looms. This is a move the city hopes help revive the housing market.
Long Beach Board of Alderman for Ward 1 Gary Ponthieux said, “Insurance, I know, can sometimes pose a problem, but there’s other ways to make that change. We’re looking forward to seeing new homes being built.”
One alderman says once those new homes are built, the city can reclaim the money it’s losing. Alderman Mark Lishen, Ward 5, estimates the city is losing $400,000 a year in residential taxes alone. “K-Mart used to be down there. We had shops, we had businesses, gas stations, all those things don’t even count in that 400 thousand number that I came up with.”
Aldermen agree that bringing more businesses to the city could spur economic development. They tell News 25 the city sells itself. “For businesses to just come down here, visit our area, look at Jeff Davis, look at the Town Green, look at the businesses that are there existing now,” said Ponthieux.
All the aldermen agree that simply getting developers to Long Beach could go a long way. They also say that making locations more appealing and not so bare could go a long way too. “I’m adamant that when they come down there and see a bunch of slabs and weeds and overgrown parking lots and graffiti, they’re going to say ‘you know, Long Beach really doesn’t care that much,’” said Lishen.
City officials say their schools and location on the Coast are the biggest draws for their city.