OCEAN SPRINGS: Among all the ravages wrought by Hurricane Katrina, and more recently, the BP Oil Spill, there have been many great examples of individuals, businesses, and communities rolling up their sleeves and getting back to work.
One of the most noteworthy of these is the community of Ocean Springs. On a recent visit to the Coast, we dropped by the offices of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce and heard about their Main Street Award. Once a relatively sleepy coastal community, Ocean Springs has emerged as a major cultural, arts, and tourist destination. Through its Main Street program, the community has attracted tons of new businesses to its downtown area, to the point that there is a virtually non-existent vacancy rate. The community has multiple well-attended events through the year, a burgeoning arts community, and a pervasive sense of pride in its accomplishments.
Now, the community has been recognized as a Great American Main Street Award winner at the 2013 National Main Street Conference in New Orleans this spring. Some people refer to these awards as the “Oscars” of downtown development, and the competition for recognition is fierce.
“This is an amazing honor,” said Margaret Miller, executive director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “The growth didn’t happen overnight, but one by one this sleepy little town has become a national travel and arts destination.”
Ocean Springs, and other success stories on the Coast, are certainly evidence of the resilience and determination of the individuals and businesses who make the Coast their home.