PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – When it was announced a year ago, it was advertised as one of the largest economic development projects in the past 40 years in Jackson County. As of Monday, it’s about halfway finished. That project is the $150 million revitalization of the Ingalls East Bank shipyard.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed the yard back in 2005, and it’s been dormant ever since. But that should soon be changing.
Nearby business owners along Ingalls Avenue seem to have a real sense of anticipation of what the reopened East Bank will mean for their bottom lines.
At Bozo’s Seafood market, the lines are regularly long. When the East Bank reopens, it might get even busier when shipyard workers call it a day.
David Wells bought an empty building and opened a convenience store, complete will Ingalls murals near the shipyard. He hopes the East Bank’s success will bring him success.
“Just trying to get in on the prosperity. I mean, they prosper over here on the East Bank, and I wanted to get in on it,” he explained.
When the Ingalls East Bank reopens about a year from now, it’s certainly going to be good for local businesses. But it’s also going to be sending a signal to the international business community and worldwide ports.
“We think it sends a signal that this is a good port to do business in and the people investing the private money in the terminals around here are a strong indicator of that,” said Pascagoula port director Mark McAndrews.
Business manager and former city council member Paul Clark believes this development could be the beginning of something very good for Jackson County.
Right now, there are several hundred people who are working construction jobs on the site.