City approves $150K for Twin Forks Rising redevelopment

City approves $150K for Twin Forks Rising redevelopment
Source: WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg will continue to invest in Twin Forks Rising, the redevelopment project for Ward 2.

That's the neighborhood in East Hattiesburg, between the Leaf and Bouie rivers, some say has been overlooked for some time.

Last week, council members voted to move forward with an agreement between the mayor and the Twin Forks Rising Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation, for a $150,000 investment.

"You're talking about a ward that's been hit by two tornadoes in the last four years. There's not many communities across the country that can even say that happened to them," said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. "When you consider the two tornadoes, when you consider that much of the ward lies in the flood zone, when you consider there is already high poverty in this ward, it's going to take a significant investment and significant attention, and it's not going to happen overnight."

House Bill 1551 was introduced by state Rep. Missy McGee this past session and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant last month. The bill gives the City of Hattiesburg the authority to contribute $300,000 out of any available municipal funds over the next two years.

In 2013, the administration decided to move forward with the three-phase project to improve the neighborhoods along Mobile and Bouie streets.

Delgado said she has been working consistently to drive the redevelopment for Ward 2. She said it has taken "quite a bit of time," but she is excited at the possibility ahead.

"The City of Hattiesburg has lost the opportunity to see new development," said Delgado. "It's not all that we need. We are still raising money."

"As a city, we have to make sure we are trying to make every part of the city rise, every part of the city improve, the quality of life for those residents and the opportunity for those residents that there's equality and there is equity among that kind of progress," said Barker.

The agreement requires the Twin Forks Rising Community Development Corporation to employ a director or program coordinator and provide a list of measurable objectives for which the $150,000 in funding will be used.