Mississippi Rebuilding
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Current Ideas

Cottages become a growth industry

Governor's Commission report

Final team reports

January 18, 2007
Cities in Transition

August 23, 2006
Katrina Plus One
The Katrina Cottage Story

April 26, 2006

Six Months of Progress

January 16, 2006

Affordable Houses Address Gulf Needs

January 11, 2006

Katrina Cottage Unveiled

December 19, 2005
An Abundance of Follow-Up
Moss Point Mini-Charrette

December 3, 2005
CNU Teams Return

November 17, 2005
Final Team Reports Are Released

October 18, 2005
Journal: A Tremendous Start

October 17, 2005
Journal: Time's Up
Team Presentations

October 16, 2005
Journal: Community Input
Draft Community Plans
Architectural Designs

October 15, 2005
Journal: Plans Emerge

October 14, 2005
Journal: Focus on Design
Draft Community Plans

October 13, 2005
Journal: Teams Visit Communities
Draft Goals and Objectives

October 12, 2005
Journal: Renewal Forum Begins

Governor Enlists CNU

GIS Database

Sunday, October 16, 2005 -- Forum designers return to the drawing board today, reworking their ideas-in-progress to accommodate the diverse input of community officials who visited the Isle of Capri studio Saturday afternoon.

Many came specifically with questions regarding the FEMA flood zones and how their application would affect recovery. A FEMA spokesperson stressed that much of the zone information informing the design teams is introductory and speculative, based on the best data currently available. Still, it's something that must be dealt with, a subject weighing heavily upon Forum design head Andrés Duany, who shared his thoughts on the matter in an exclusive interview with mississippirenewal.com.

In a series of congenial but substantive exchanges, each of the eleven community teams presented their work to local stakeholders, opening the doorway to both individual and group conversations centered on the often surprising proposals. Serving as the first of the multiple feedback loops upon which the charrette method is partially based, the meeting allowed the design teams to gauge their many hastily formed perceptions against the reactions of local leadership.

What they found, in most cases, were far more areas of agreement than areas of dispute.

Each of the eleven teams established a series of goals built upon their understanding of each community's situation - its culture, economy, topography and heritage. In some cases, these goals extend for multiple pages; in others, they can be shared in a single breath.

For consistency's sake, we've prioritized the objectives of each community into comparable lists. Below, we summarize what each team set out to accomplish, followed by the reaction from the visiting official(s).

Notable Design Goals:
  • Restore traditional block and street fabric of the 15-block area of downtown with a mix of uses that serve the neighborhoods of Biloxi with shops, restaurants, and movie entertainment.
  • Build 500 units of housing in the next 24 months.
  • Plan for casinos on the inland side of Highway 90 and high-density condos and retail along a boardwalk or promenade.
  • Introduce a streetcar that begins in Gulfport, travels down 90 eastbound and separates, making a loop at the eastern point, connecting the ring of casinos and returning westward along the gulf.
Mayor A.J. Holloway responds: "It's a lot to digest. I think a lot of it is right where it's supposed to be. We've been trying to do this for years. There's always the question of where we're going to get the money, but I like it."

Long Beach
Notable Design Goals:
  • Create neighborhoods with own square held together by a network of walkable streets.
  • Plan a high-density beachfront promenade.
  • Build a scenic parkway that winds through a wetlands area to the north of downtown, creating a more direct route to I-10.
Alderman and architect Mark Lishen responds: "It went as well as expected, given the grand, global ideas we're talking about. We're very excited. What I've heard is that (other city officials) like it. The question is, how do you implement it on this grand scale?"

Moss Point
Notable Design Goals:
  • Create a framework for developers north of I-10.
  • Plan an airport high-tech district.
  • Rework downtown to recreate the early neighborhood network.
  • Create connections, perhaps with a nature trail.
Alderman Aniece Liddel responds: "I've liked what (the designers) have done. And I think our citizens are waiting for us as leaders to put something forward, to put something on the table. Now what we need to think about is implementing it."

Notable Design Goals:
  • Create a viable center; establish connections between planned neighborhood centers, a potential light rail stop, and Hwy 90.
  • Develop the shoreline in a manner consistent with the community's ecotourism goals.
  • Preserve park lands.
  • Redevelop De La Pointe into a main street adjacent to the city park.
Jeff Wilkerson, mayor pro tem and council member, responds: "I'm surprised and excited. I'm surprised that you folks seem to understand our community after spending such a short amount of time here. That's the exciting part, too. I haven't seen anything today that I wouldn't want to live in."

Ocean Springs
Notable Design Goals:
  • Locate development in key areas; e.g., Highway 90 as it enters the town; and the harbor, which holds options for mixed-use development.
  • Enhance existing historic downtown on west side.
  • Develop eastern edge of town into a walkable framework similar to west side.
  • Create building designs for the new waterfront development.
  • Develop a ferry landing.
Mayor Connie Moran responds: "The designs are very exciting and forward-thinking. I'm pleased that they've incorporated the architecture of Ocean Springs' yesteryear into their new design. This allows us to preserve our historical architectural elements and, therefore, the city's charm."

Bay St. Louis
Notable Design Goals:
  • Link the town's three traditional commercial areas into a greater whole.
  • Create "gateway" entries from Highway 90 to the beach, and between Waveland and Bay St. Louis.
  • Connect existing historic train depot to the traditional main street; create additional routes to I-10.
  • Create a town-wide green space network with bike paths, walkways, and athletic activities.
Tish Williams, director of Bay St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, responds: "We are privileged to be working with the best team! We feel blessed to have this wonderful brainpower visiting our area. These design specialists have truly captured the spirit of Bay St. Louis. I can't wait for the rest of the town to see what they've come up with."

Pass Christian
Notable Design Goals:
  • Plan a second marina for recreational boating and fishing.
  • Create a new Wal-Mart - one that respects a more human scale.
  • Raise a new City Hall with a first-floor arcade and second-floor officers.
  • Design a new St. Paul's Church so parishioners can attend church in their own town.
Malcolm Jones, chief administrative assistant, responds: "They've done a great job in a short period of time to gather accurate information about the town and applying that information to coming up with some very good ideas. We gave them some feedback that will help them make another draft on Monday. We liked the idea of having a different fašade for a rebuilt Mal-Mart and trying to create a shopping district at Market and Scenic. I also like the idea of getting the public buildings closer to the center of downtown."

Notable Design Goals:
  • Transform D'Iberville's waterfront, with waterfront gaming and a French Quarter as its highlights.
  • Extend I-15, connecting to ecological areas and turning D'Iberville into a commercial hub.
  • Create an extension to Popps Ferry Road to complete this thoroughfare, transforming it into a viable alternate route to Highway 90.
  • Propose denser development concentrated around schools, retail and service-based areas.
  • Develop Central Ave. as a main street connecting the coastal esplanade to the retail hub further north.
Mayor Rusty Quave responds: "Give them an A+! They're great. They make it so easy - now we just hope it will be easy for us to do it."

Notable Design Goals:
  • Recreate Coleman Ave. as a mix of shops and restaurants, galleries, the American Legion Hall and a farmer's market.
  • Covert the freight railroad line to a corridor with trolley line and a station that will be the focus of a new town square.
  • Treat Highway 90 through as a boulevard, with the intersections of Nicholson and Waveland becoming focal points for new development.
Sherry Ponder, resident: "It's exciting, and it's bittersweet. With the new FEMA regulations we still don't know what we can do. But this is an opportunity to rebuild, and make the town great again. We'll get a lot of reaction from people who want to build it back just the way it was, but I don't know if we'll be able to do that."

Notable Design Goals:
  • Improve Pascagoula's street network through inclusion of a new streetcar line, expansion of the waterfront park, and redevelopment of the west riverfront.
  • Convert existing rail station to light rail stop.
  • Create ferry service.
  • Plan walkable downtown environments.
Kay Kell, City Manager, responds: "It's fantastic. I've been here for about five years and I've seen so much under use of things. This plan makes it much more livable."

Steve Mitchell, Building Official, said "I love it. I've been pro waterfront development since I got here. I've always thought that Pascagoula had the potential to change from a blue collar town into something more than a blue collar town and the plan fits my concept fairly well."

Manley Barton, County Supervisor, "We have a choice to fix up what we had before the storm but that's probably not the best option. The best option is to develop above the flood zone and figure out our borrowing capacity."

Steve Mitchell, Building Official, "Our biggest challenge will be to get citizen buy in."

Notable Design Goals:
  • Redevelop vacant lots and underused parcels south of Highway 90 as a mixed-use "docklands" district that extends the fabric of downtown towards the water. Uses will transition from industrial and port operations on the port's western peninsula to shops, restaurants, apartments, and cultural institutions such as an aquarium and farmer's market closer to downtown, and a redesigned Bert Jones Park.
  • Raise the truck and rail lines feeding the port off the streets on a European-styled walled viaduct. Stores and offices below the viaduct would complement the streetscape of 30th Street.
  • Develop a premier, Monte Carlo-style grand hotel and casino with a seaside promenade where Highway 49 meets the water in the proposed "docklands" districts.
  • Introduce cruise ships berths near the proposed casino to bring customers to downtown.
Barbara Nalley, President, Gulfport City Council, responds: "I am excited about what I see here. I have concerns, as others do, about how we're going to implement these great plans. We will have to create priorities. We have had studies in the past that didn't yield results. But it's the best time in our history to do this because we will have funds to use that we didn't have prior to the storm. The council and the mayor are on the same page on revitalizing downtown."

Brent Warr, Mayor, "The truth of it is that I'm impressed with the process. These people have clearly done charrettes many times before. They got in vehicles with us and toured the city. They asked a lot of excellent questions. They knew to get the elected officials, city leaders, community leaders, neighborhood leaders together for a discussion. That was all on the first day, so the toolbox was ready. After that, they got to work. They said, 'You take the port. You take transportation. You take entertainment.' Each of these people is the best in the country at what they do, so they can't get it wrong."

Gary Holliman, Gulfport City Council Member, "Hopefully these ideas will bring some life to downtown. That's important to us."

Photos of Saturday's presentation.

View the gathering.

Meet attendees.