With its forward-thinking approach and visionary leadership, Diamondhead is poised to become an example of a thriving and inclusive community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
– By Anne Pitre
In a power-packed event that showcased Diamondhead’s remarkable progress, Mayor Nancy Depreo presented an insightful interview during the Hancock Chamber Power Hour Coffee Call. Held at the Club at Diamondhead and hosted by Ted Longo and The Longo Group, the event attracted an enthusiastic crowd of around 80 people. Despite the interview lasting only 30 minutes, Mayor Depreo and Ted Longo managed to cover a considerable amount of information regarding Diamondhead’s exponential growth and promising future.
Diamondhead is now the largest city in Hancock County and has witnessed a 58% growth between 2000 and 2020, culminating in a population of 9,529 residents. Mayor Depreo emphasized the city’s commitment to maintaining a delicate balance between commercial and residential growth while focusing on infrastructure, design, and quality of life.
One notable aspect of Diamondhead’s progress is its emphasis on community outreach. The city now hosts a farmers’ market on the town green every Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. The market has exceeded expectations, boasting over 30 vendors each week. Visitors can explore a wide variety of offerings, including fresh food, plants, arts and crafts, and more. Responding to the overwhelming success, the city plans to expand the market by introducing a Sunday afternoon market every 3rd Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.
Another remarkable outreach effort by the City of Diamondhead is the Diamondhead Senior Village. This unique concept fosters a close-knit community that brings together senior citizens for companionship, information sharing, and support. Weekly gatherings at the Diamondhead library feature a diverse range of speakers covering topics relevant to the overall well-being and community involvement of seniors.
Like many other Mississippi Gulf Coast cities, Diamondhead faces ongoing challenges related to drainage. However, the city has secured an impressive $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), an additional $2 million from the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, and $2 million from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). This significant funding will enable Diamondhead to complete all currently identified drainage projects, addressing long-standing concerns.
Moreover, the city has allocated $5 million in general obligation bond funding to completely repave Diamondhead Drive—a vital thoroughfare connecting the entire city. The project includes resurfacing, re-striping, and the addition of a continuous bike path encircling Diamondhead, enhancing connectivity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Diamondhead is poised for future growth with the upcoming Phase 1 of the new commercial district on the west side of Gex Drive. With an estimated cost of $6 million, this phase will construct a new road connecting Park Ten Drive to Nova Drive, creating 6,000 linear feet of space for new commercial and mixed-use development. The district has been designed to accommodate growth, offering ample space for continuous development over the next decade and beyond.
However, the most impactful project set to transform Diamondhead is the Exit 16 Improvement project, funded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) with a budget of $7 million. This project aims to improve traffic flow from I-10 onto Gex Drive, Diamondhead’s most crucial gateway. The project, which includes the construction of two roundabouts on the I-10 overpass and a third at the intersection of Gex Drive and Aloha Drive, is expected to commence in September. Mayor Depreo advised residents to prepare for temporary traffic disruptions and expressed confidence that the improved Exit 16 would ultimately provide a safer and more welcoming gateway to the city.
The Power Hour Coffee Call featuring Mayor Nancy Depreo and Ted Longo offered a remarkable glimpse into Diamondhead’s exponential growth and its exciting prospects for the future. Diamondhead is committed to sustainable development that enhances the quality of life for its residents. With its forward-thinking approach and visionary leadership, Diamondhead is poised to become an example of a thriving and inclusive community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
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