Over the past three years, the City of Diamondhead has secured $1.7 million in grants for City initiatives as presented by City Manager Clovis Reed during the May 17th city council meeting. This was made possible through the efforts of Diamondhead elected officials and staff working in concert with state agencies and the legislature. The city match for these projects is estimated at only $600,000 for a total project value of nearly $2.3 million.
The city, working with the legislature, was also able to secure another $204,000 in Tidelands funds this year to support the proposed kayak and biking trail at Rotten Bayou on the Jourdan River. The Mayor and Council are also looking at ways the City can economically benefit from the new “Go Cup” legislation. The legislation, signed into law this month, gives municipalities in coastal counties the opportunity to set up special leisure and recreation districts.
“Setting up a district like this in Diamondhead in the future could lead to increased commercial investments,” said Mayor Tommy Schafer.
To support even more commercial development in Diamondhead, the Mayor and City Council unanimously approved accepting a donation from the Purcell Company to enable the city to acquire a commercial access road on Aloha Drive to Diamondhead Drive East.
“Acquiring this road will give the city the opportunity to make improvements to reduce traffic delays and open circulation at Shepard Square to attract future commercial investments,” said Reed. “I cannot thank the Purcell Company enough for their support of this project,” he said.
Another initiative that the City is supporting is the implementation of a coast-wide survey to look at recommendations to change the current FEMA flood elevation maps that could reduce building and insurance rates for homeowners and businesses. This study would be managed by the South Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD).
Other grants the city has been able to secure will enable the city to support upgrades for the municipal court department, a new community information sign at City Hall, Montjoy Creek improvements, City Hall ADA and hazard mitigation improvements, and grants for a Mississippi Department of Transportation funded Traffic Study and a safe routes to school program.
The city is also applying for grants to establish a City Hall walking and fitness trail; build a roundabout on Golf Club Drive and Diamondhead East; launch an interstate ramp lighting project and upgrades at exit 16; and, build kayak launches for sport fish and boat access.
Councilman Ron Rech, who regularly attends the Hancock County Board of Supervisors meetings to enhance communications between the city and the county, provided a report. The Kapalama replacement bridge work should begin by June 1; and, the East Hancock Library should reopen this summer.
“This is good news for Diamondhead, and we should all send a note of thanks to Blaine LaFontaine and the entire Board of Supervisors for pushing this through to restore the budget to enable the library to continue services for our citizens,” Rech said.