Mayor: ‘Transportation plan is key to development’ in city of Diamondhead
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 4, 2014, 21:18
Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer on Tuesday celebrated the city's second birthday with a 20-minute state-of-the city address.
Schafer said the city has come a long way in its first two years, but it now needs to focus on economic development as it moves forward.
"Right now, we are a resort community," Schafer said. "People get up in the morning and leave here to go to work. A lot of people have talked about economic development, but it needs to be well-planned to succeed."
Schafer said the first and most important step in developing an economic development plan is improving transportation routes in the city.
Chief on the list is the Interstate 10 exit and overpass, he said.
The exchange is especially dangerous in the late evening when residents are returning home from work, he said.
Schafer said he and other city leaders recently met with officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation who are willing to help.
"It is their highway and their money, but they seemed like they wanted to help us," Schafer said. "At first, they have offered some short-term solutions and they have promised to work with us on a long-term solution. Traffic must improve at that interchange if we want to accommodate people and growth."
Short-term solutions include additional traffic lights near and on the overpass and additional warning signs before exit 16, Schafer said.
Despite the traffic woes, Schafer said the city has taken many steps forward in the past year.
One reason is the work of volunteers, who have helped with beautification projects and other events such as Cruisin' the Coast.
In addition, the city now has a full-time building official and is working on a strategic master plan.
Schafer complimented the Hancock County Sheriff's Office for providing the city with law enforcement services and he said Diamondhead remains one of the safest communities in the state.
In closing, Schafer vowed that he and the city council will continue to work hard to improve the young city.
"I love Diamondhead and it's a pleasure to serve you as your mayor," he said.