December 19, 2005 -- The Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal summarized the many follow-up events that draw on work begun during the Mississippi Renewal Forum. From the Governor's Commission eNEWSLETTER #5:
The Commission continues to work with Coast communities as they make their rebuilding plans. Every week, citizen groups meet in all eleven towns and in the surrounding counties. Some cities are holding seminars to educate their personnel and elected officials on SmartCode and other aspects of zoning, coding and permitting. Some towns are already moving ahead with implementing the plans produced at the Mississippi Renewal Forum. They have scheduled follow-up sessions with local leaders and officials to figure out which parts of the plans work best for them, and how they can begin implementing these ideas. Here are some of the specific things that have happened, and some that are coming up:
• Residents of Bay St. Louis partnered with KaBoom! organization to build a new children’s park in downtown Bay St. Louis on Saturday, December 17. Neighborhood children designed the park, and 650 volunteers helped build the park using tools provided by KaBoom! You can read more about the effort and see pictures of the park at http://www.kaboom.org/News/Press_Room/BayStLouis.html.
• Moss Point held a three-day follow-up planning charrette on December 17, 18 and 19 to focus on implementing town plans. The final plans were presented to Moss Point residents on Monday, December 19, 2005 at the Riverfront Recreation Center on Denny Street. Read more about the Moss Point charrette here.
• D'Iberville held a town hall meeting to discuss the final charrette plans on Monday, December 19 at D'Iberville City Hall.
• Hancock County and Bay St. Louis plan to hold a modular housing expo in Bay St. Louis.
• Pass Christian City Council has tasked the city's planning commission with implementing SmartCode.
• Long Beach has requested to have follow-up charrettes and SmartCode seminars.
• Gulfport has scheduled a two-day charrette and SmartCode seminar January 19-21.
• Waveland is in the process of planning their own town charrette.
• Ocean Springs has held their own town charrette. The city has also held a full-day SmartCode seminar, and is actively working on passing SmartCode for the city.
• Gautier and Pascagoula are having full-day SmartCode seminars in January.
• The Governor's Commission will take part in the National Association of Homebuilders annual convention January 11-14 in Orlando, Florida. Over 100,000 homebuilders will attend this convention, and will have a chance to see the need and opportunity to build houses in Mississippi. For the Commission’s display space, Michael Barranco of Barranco Architecture in Jackson will build a full-size, up-to-code cottage using designs from the Mississippi Renewal Forum.
Two publications are available at city halls and other places around the Coast, and they are flying off the shelves. Demand for these publications has been so great, the Commission has had to order a second printing. The Summary Report provides an overview of the eleven town proposals. A Pattern Book for Gulf Coast Neighborhoods is a one-volume resource that gives a homebuilder or home-rebuilder information to build or rebuild in keeping with the Gulf Coast's rich vernacular architecture. They are the product of the Mississippi Renewal Forum held in Biloxi, and they offer tools and plans for rebuilding communities and homes.
December 22, 2005 -- The Congress for the New Urbanism reported the following in its December e-Update:
The City of Pass Christian this week embraced a key recommendation that came out of the Mississippi Renewal Forum charrettes. The city's Board of Alderman unanimously approved a proposal for Fisher and Hall Urban Design to prepare a final SmartCode for the city, taking a crucial step toward implementing the vision for rebuilding that the community has shared with planners over the past couple months.
Laura Hall and her team have visited Pass Christian twice since the October charrette for a series of public meetings. They found that members of the community welcomed the idea of implementing a SmartCode to direct the rebuilding effort and preserve the character of their city. Residents who were concerned about developers building large structures that don't "fit in" were relieved to find a solution that would keep new buildings in scale with their surroundings and encourage a more intimate, walkable downtown. The SmartCode is a form-based code that implements the principles of the New Urbanism based on the scales of the Transect.
As Pass Christian moves forward with their rebuilding efforts, they set an example for other cities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They are demonstrating their resolve to keep up the momentum and take active steps toward reviving their damaged city.