HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A long-awaited project on the Longleaf Trace connecting the Southern Miss Gateway with downtown Hattiesburg has officially opened.
A ribbon was cut Saturday opening Phase III of the Trace, which runs two miles from USM to Main Street.
Total cost of the project was $1.2 million and was funded by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
"The whole concept is to bring (trail users) into downtown Hattiesburg," said Johnny DuPree, mayor of Hattiesburg. "It's an economic value to us, it's a social value to us, it's all those things that make our community what it is."
Before the ribbon-cutting, a new parking lot for the Longleaf Trace was dedicated in honor of Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King.
He secured the $496,000 in federal Transportation Alternative Project funds to build it.
"We were struggling with parking, having visitors that weren't properly accommodated as far as parking and now we can do that and we're just thrilled to death to do that and we're thrilled to be able to name it for Tom King, who has been a champion for us in terms of funding," said Herlon Pierce, manager of the Longleaf Trace.
The parking lot has 50 spaces.