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June 15, 2009

BARBOUR: BAY ST. LOUIS BEGINS MUCH ANTICIPATED WASHINGTON STREET REVITALIZATION PROJECT


Jackson, Mississippi - Governor Haley Barbour today praised local officials for beginning a centerpiece of Hurricane Katrina recovery work in Bay St. Louis known as the Washington Street Project. The $3 million initiative was funded by Mississippi’s federally-sourced Hurricane Katrina recovery program.

“The Washington Street Project is another excellent example of the state stepping aside and letting the local community plan and prioritize its needs in the ongoing recovery process,” Governor Barbour said. “This project is another piece of the state’s $200 million commitment to the Hancock County Long-Term Recovery or ‘Ground Zero’ plan, which is now funding dozens of recovery projects throughout Hancock County.”

This project will widen traffic lanes, enclose ditches, add curbs and gutters, construct handicap-compliant four-foot wide sidewalks, improve the drainage system and install new roadway signage, landscaping and streetscape amenities including lighting. The initiative will complement other Ground Zero hurricane recovery plans in the city, including projects aimed at restoring Bay St. Louis as a regional destination.

“When complete, Washington Street will be a much improved thoroughfare that will improve the quality of life for Bay St. Louis residents and help revitalize the city’s tourism economy, giving easier access from Highway 90 to what will be a restored downtown core,” Jon Mabry, Chief Operations Officer for the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Disaster Recovery Division said.

The project is funded by the more than $5 billion in federal funding which Governor Barbour and the state’s Congressional delegation worked to secure for Mississippi’s overall Katrina Recovery. Governor Barbour set aside $200 million for Hancock County’s long-term recovery needs in late 2008. Today, Ground Zero has 37 locally conceived, locally prioritized projects underway, including Washington Street.

MDA’s Disaster Recovery Division administers 17 diverse Katrina recovery programs funded through the total $5 billion package. Divided between housing recovery programs, infrastructure repair and economic recovery initiatives, about $4 billion of the total $5.4 billion is budgeted toward direct and indirect housing restoration plans and another $1 billion was set aside for economic recovery and infrastructure repair initiatives, which include Ground Zero.