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Katrina recovery project underway

BAY ST. LOUIS — The Washington Street Project, seen as a major component of Bay St. Louis’ Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, has begun. The $3-million initiative was funded by Mississippi’s federally-sourced 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,” Gov. Haley 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,” said Jon Mabry, COO for the Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division.

The project is funded by the more than $5 billion in federal funding for Mississippi’s overall Katrina recovery. 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.

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