Wednesday, October 19, 2005

renewal forum

For those of you who may not be following the news too closely down here, the plans of the Mississippi Renewal Forum were presented to the public today.
The Forum is basically a commission set up by Gov. Barbour with a bunch of big-wigs from Mississippi to make recommendations and create plans of all kinds and sizes to rebuild this part of the Gulf Coast. For the last week, 100s of architects and urban planners from across the country have been giving presentations on how to make the Coast better.
Some of the more interesting ideas involve getting rid of the CSX railroad tracks that run east-west just four blocks from the beach (and which probably saved the SunHerald building and yours truly from certain doom) in all three southern counties and making the whole area more walkable and bikeable.
Because I cover the town of Long Beach, I can only really comment on specific stuff that’s proposed there. As can be seen in the photos above, the slate has been wiped clean.
Anyways, that’s the boiled down summation of what’s going on.
It’s fascinating and a grand plan. The problem is, most obviously, the money. Everybody wants all this nice stuff: broad avenues, more trees, parks, central commercial districts. Basically, it’s everything that the coast was not before the storm. Problem is, it’s expensive as all hell. And, with no tax base to work from, it’ll all have to be done on a borrowed dime.
Another thing that concerns me is that here haven’t been too many minorities involved in these discussions about how to redo things. Actually, the general socio-economic makeup of these meetings on redoing the whole thing has generally been the same few brackets too. (I’ll let you guess what brackets those are.)
Anyways, if you get more time and want to look through the various proposals of the various towns, check out http://www.mississippirenewal.com/.

13 Comments:

Blogger lasomniloquy said...

great photos, as usual, and nice description of the new town proposal. It sounds like the big-wigs are enjoying their shopping for a new look. The photos, though, bring up another issue...would it make sense to make that whole beachfront area a public park right up to where the black, still standing, buildings are? Sure it would be a different town, but it would be safer. No?

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I've only been in Long Beach once in my life, in 2002. My cousin got married in a beautiful mansion right there on 90, overlooking the Gulf. It was gorgeous. Now I realize that building is probably gone, or at least severely damaged.

Pictures really are worth 1000 words. Thanks so much for keeping up with this.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having spent all of high school and a fair portion of adulthood in Long Beach, I am personally thrilled at the idea of a more planned, more walkable, more beautiful business district in particular. You have to admit that the architecture following Camille was pretty heinous and having things like a Kmart and Sav-A-Center on the beach were a fairly incredible waste of prime real estate. There never was much to do there, and a couple of parks and nice shopping would be a great addition. I agree that the plan doesn't address many socio-economic problems, but really, Long Beach has always been pretty wealthy and pretty white, the larger cities of Gulfport and Biloxi will have more of those issues to face. As for the funding for all of this, I have heard of one investor who is willing to put up at least a million and is looking for others to match it. If more creative rebuilding processes are used, such as solar energy and green roofs, it could not only draw more attention to the effort to recreate the area but also could garner incentives to the entire community through reduced energy costs, governmental rebates, and even a pay-out from "the grid".
That's my two cents.
Thanks for keeping us all informed. I really appreciate this blog.

11:17 AM  
Blogger judypatooote said...

We are having a new marina district built in my town..it is exciting and a new sports center....was voted on, it passed....but thats been acouple of years ago.....it is all political.....in this town anyway. I just wonder where all the money that is promised to everyone comes from....our taxes can go only so far....I mean, there is the war, and all the storm disasters, which just keep happening.... Thank you for keeping us updated on your end.

3:06 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

I think this is a good thing, at least this storm will help fix up that city. A new modern city, though it might not have all the history, would be a good thing. Who knows, maybe all the poverty will slowly go away, like the good cities out there. Well like New York and Boston lol...

R2000
Bathroom Review

5:21 AM  
Blogger Julie Du. said...

Thank you for continuing the updates on what is going on down there in the Gulf Coast. I'm on the northernmost boundary of our country; up here, we aren't getting much of the post-Katrina story.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous barb said...

well shit hit the fan today about the iilligal workers from central america being contracted to do the rebuilding in louisianna. Jessie Jackson is mighty pissed and i don't blame him. . ouch what a mix up and wilma is on her way .

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. You write to the heart of the matter... the people and the rebuilding of life after devastation...

A friend forward this site to me:

http://www.enterprisemission.com/weblog/2005/09/hyperdimensional-katrina-scientific.html

I wondered if you have seen it before or heard anything of it.

3:52 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:41 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

Yeah thats why you DONT hire illegal workers when the whole urban population was displaced and out of work after the storm.

It was the perfect chance to give all these damn poor people who didnt have jobs even before the storm, solid employment. Give them a part in the reconstruction of their city. So when it is done, now they have a real link to it, and they are already in a better financial position. Another great chance ruined.

Bathroom Review
R2000

6:43 AM  
Anonymous barb said...

I hear ya Alex but i was accused of being disrespectful of the president when i pointed out how stupid he was :OD

so i just shake my head and go on with life here in canada.

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