Slabbed Daily August 3: The Sun Herald runs a Hancock County Edition

Farrar Lane
Sarah Cure / The Sun Herald

And manages to hit close to home on several of the stories all of which were written by Sarah Cure. We start with signs; in this case street signs and how the locals have made due in the years since Katrina without any:

Homemade and temporary street signs attached to utility poles on the roads of Waveland will soon be replaced with the new standard of signs from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Waveland Recovery Manager Brent Anderson said the new street signs are being produced, and he hopes to start installing the signs toward the end of August………

After Hurricane Katrina, many neighborhoods created their own street signs or markers. They were made from storm debris, pieces of concrete slabs, cardboard and plywood. People even spray-painted street names directly on the actual roads.

Liz Fergusson and her godfather used Foamcore to designate their street in Waveland.

“We were tired of not having street signs because it was difficult for people to find your house,” Fergusson said. “If the floor man was coming to your home, you would have to tell him to turn left by the house with a blue tarp on its roof.

“So we decided to make our own by painting the street name on Foamcore and then tacking them to utility poles,” she said.

Fergusson said a group of volunteers fabricated signs from wood with the street names painted on in a funky design, and then attached them to utility poles.

“It was a good project the volunteers did,” she said. “Now I’m ecstatic about the new street signs because it will be much easier for people to get around. And for emergency purposes, I feel better about having them.”

I guess my knowledge of town and acclimation to the new post Katrina normal caused me not to notice the lack of street signs. It is good to see new ones are on the way.

Next up is recycling  and the resumption of service after Katrina and its aftermath stopped the existing program in its tracks. The story includes some quotes from local character and disposal expert extraordinaire Roy Calhoun:

The Hancock County Board of Supervisors has implemented a recycling program that will serve as a foundation for future recycling efforts in the area, if it’s deemed successful.

District 3 Supervisor Lisa Cowand said recycling is overseen by the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority, but a contract to resume operations that ceased after Hurricane Katrina will not be up for bid until the end of this year. Until then, the board decided to intervene by establishing four, 24-cubic-yard recycling units that are dispersed throughout the county.

They are at Kiln Public Library, Diamondhead Fire Department, the former police station on U.S. 90 in Waveland, and the Hancock County government complex on Longfellow Road in Bay St. Louis. Cowand said these locations were selected based upon accessibility and traffic flow.

“We wanted to get the ball rolling and get people warmed up for recycling,” Cowand said. “Pre-Katrina, Diamondhead was the pioneer of curbside recycling in Hancock County with participation at 92 percent compared to Bay St. Louis and Waveland with participation at approximately 20 percent.

“At that time, participation wasn’t there, but I think everyone in the county will take advantage of the units. We are hoping that these units are a success so if curbside pick-up does come to fruition, it will be successful.” ……

“So far, we have had no problems with people dumping trash into the units,” said Roy Calhoun, sales representative for Delta Sanitation of South Mississippi, which manages the recycling units. “We are trying to get people to do the right thing by attaching these instructions.

Calhoun, who is also a Hancock County resident, said he is excited about this opportunity to provide a viable option for recycling in Hancock County. “We had nothing before and this is an economical way to recycle,” he said.

Roy is the kind of guy that it doesn’t take much to get him excited. I’m very pleased to find out he is spearheading this for Delta.

Unabridged Architecture / The Sun Herald
Unabridged Architecture / The Sun Herald

Finally the Waveland business incubator is in the news. I’ve had to opportunity to chat with the consultant that is finishing the feasibility study and developing the business plan and this idea IMHO is simply excellent. Coupled with the return of City Hall, the Fire Station along with the restored civic center and new library the incubator will solidify the renewal of Coleman Avenue.

The city of Waveland received the green light to build a business incubator on Coleman Avenue to entice commerce in hopes of revitalizing the downtown district that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

After being awarded $3,493,339 through a Community Development Block Grant and $24,000 from the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration to fund a feasibility analysis, Waveland is mandated by Gov. Haley Barbour to start construction by Sept. 1. Bids for the project went out July 18.

Spearheaded by Ward One Alderman LiLi Stahler, the business incubator is designed to house and assist start-up businesses and entrepreneurs while providing the necessary resources to survive and achieve success in the community. Stahler said businesses in an incubator are immersed in an environment where they are constantly learning.

“They (tenants) will pay rent, share services and will learn how to operate a business,” Stahler said. “Usually, they will stay in an incubator for two years and it gives them a better chance to succeed.

“I see the business incubator as a catalyst to bring business and traffic to Coleman Avenue, poising this area for commercial growth in the future,” she said.

Designed by Unabridged Architecture of Bay St. Louis, the building will be on the corner of Bourgeois Street and Coleman Avenue. It will also be diagonally across from the future home of Waveland’s City Hall Complex. Principal firm owner and design architect John Anderson said the building will fit the scale of the street and community as well as recapturing the “Coleman character.”

“It’s kind of a hybrid between an office building, civic center and restaurant,” Anderson said. “The idea is that there is a large, sheltering roof over the entire thing that is rectangular and these ‘pods’ are curved elements that ‘float’ under the roof.

“It is sort of an architectural expression of being individuals under this big roof and it’s also environmentally friendly,” he said.

The building is designed with a three-pod concept, and each pod has its own separate function. Anderson said there is a lot of exterior space including an upper deck and lower deck that will serve as an area for activities like the farmer’s market and parade viewing. The decks are designed to sit beneath the existing shade of Live oak and sycamore trees which is enhanced by the natural coastal breeze of the beach.

LEED is the next big thing in construction IMHO and this project garnered the silver certification meaning it rates as eco friendly and energy efficient.

“Its civic function is to be well used, fits in with the neighbors and creates a bit of buzz and activity on Coleman Avenue,” he said. “We are looking forward to building and setting an environmental standard for sustainability and hope its inspiring to other folks rebuilding in the area.”

Many residents share that feeling as well. Waveland always was a jumble of various architectural styles some of which were far more stylish than others as we continue the story:

“The one thing that inspired us is a market-type building you might see in Charleston, S.C., or the French Market in New Orleans,” Anderson said. “It’s a great example of an ‘old shed’ sort of building and when entrepreneurs move there, it gives an energy that we are trying to capture with this design.”

Waveland will have around $20 million to $25 million worth of buildings that will break ground toward the end of summer, Mayor Tommy Longo said.


One thought on “Slabbed Daily August 3: The Sun Herald runs a Hancock County Edition”

  1. Return of street signs is such exciting news that I’d jump in my car and come try them out if I weren’t facing so many deadlines!

    Amazing isn’t it that it has taken almost four years to accomplish something we take for granted. Hope Hancock County is starting a “movement” that will spread over to Louisiana. I had a hard time finding my way around on my recent trip there.

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