Four Mississippi RESTORE projects have been issued grant awards by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The projects — which will support workforce development and infrastructure benefitting the economy in the Gulf Coast Region — include the Hancock County Fairgrounds Revitalization, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, NOARC Commercial Proving Grounds for Space to Seafloor Environmental Monitoring, and the Hancock County Technology Park Economic Development Program.
“These four projects represent critical investments into Mississippi’s Gulf Coast,” Governor Tate Reeves said. “Improving recreational opportunities, bolstering workforce development investments, and charting the future of economic development – these projects are helping to lay the groundwork for even more jobs and growth on our Gulf Coast.”
Here’s the full list of allocated grant funding:
- Hancock County Fairgrounds Revitalization ($5,797,416) — This project will provide funding to enhance site amenities at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, including renovation of existing facilities, construction of on-site cottages and cabins, and infrastructure expansion. The estimated timeline for implementation of this project is three years from the time of the award.
- Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center ($1,536,289) — This project will support site capacity at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center by adding safety and security measures such as installation of additional parking area lighting with high-efficiency LED lighting, installation of exterior security camera systems, and increasing inventory of walk-through metal detectors and wands for event security. The expected timeline for this project is two years from the award date.
- NOARC Commercial Proving Grounds for Space to Seafloor Environmental Monitoring ($1,647,363) — This project will provide the National Oceans and Applications Research Center (NOARC) with funding for workforce development through job creation. In support of its partnership with the Pearl River Community College (PRCC), NOARC will develop a dual-use commercial proving ground in the Mississippi Sound for autonomous systems which includes performance testing and validation for underwater and aerial drones in the Gulf Coast Region. The proving grounds would provide a training venue for students entering these fields and would create a workforce pipeline for local students learning the latest autonomous systems technology to the companies testing these technologies in Mississippi. The expected timeline to implement this project is 2.5 years from the time of the award.
- Hancock County Technology Park Economic Development Program ($4,866,966) — The purpose of this program is to meet the demand and growth of existing tenants as well as technology companies looking to locate around the aerospace, aviation, and defense cluster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These activities may include engineering and design, permitting, and construction, including site preparation.
“I have been involved in our Restoration work since 2017 and love when we get to begin work on new projects aimed at restoring our Coast, improving our environment, and stimulating economic growth and development,” Chris Wells, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), said.
These projects are part of Mississippi’s Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) which included six new projects — including the four above — and four modifications to existing projects totaling $37,570,000.
The projects were recommendations made to Reeves by the Governor’s Gulf Coast Advisory Committee in continued response to recovery from the BP Oil Spill.
The MDEQ will issue sub-awards to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, and the NOARC for the implementation of the projects.