Hattiesburg’s midtown proposal set in motion at campus meeting
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 00:03
As an eclectic mix of University of Southern Mississippi students and Hattiesburg residents looked on, the proposal that promises to forever change the identity of the Hub City made its much-anticipated public debut.
What began as a seven-day planning workshop in late November has quickly become a reality, as the Master Plan for Midtown Hattiesburg was revealed during a March 5 city council meeting at the Trent Lott Center on the campus of USM.
The project aims to provide the city with a mixed-use community district that combines an array of businesses, restaurants, entertainment venues and green space in the area just south of campus and west of Highway 49.
As the proposal approaches its initiation phase, the idea of a Hattiesburg Midtown has already provided a cultural shot in the arm to the Southern Miss community.
“I’m really excited because it’s going to open up Hattiesburg a lot more and make it more of a community,” junior public relations major Brandy Romig said. “This is going to make our school more appealing to potential students in a major way, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.”
The area will also offer affordable student housing in the form of cottages, condominiums and apartments accessible to the university through a Hardy Street crosswalk. For those who prefer the scenic route, a trolley connection from Midtown to campus will also be available.
While Midtown is still years from completion, City Council President Kim Bradley is confident the project will progress at a successful rate.
“When we planned this originally it was always looked at as a five or 20 year plan before it really got any traction,” Bradley said. “But I really see permits being pulled for this area this year.”
The presentation was met with resounding support from Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Paul.
“When you look at the really classic American college campuses, they almost always have a district that’s adjacent to that college campus,” Paul said. “[The project] has tremendous potential to be truly transformative.”