by Calvin Ishee
Beloved Mayor of Pass Christian, Leo “Chipper” McDermott wowed and entertained a packed house at the 2019 State of the City Address. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce sponsored event drew people from all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Visiting dignitaries included Long Beach Mayor George Bass, Mississippi State Senator Michael Watson, Pass Christian Board members Anthony Hall, Kenny Torgeson and Buddy Clarke, Deputy Pass Police Chief Darren Freeman and many members of the local business community.
Mayor McDermott began by highlighting the successes of the past year including the opening of the Whiskey Bar, Billups Restaurant and the Pass Daq and FroYo Shoppe; Pass Christian High School being designated as the 3rd best in the State of Mississippi; spent $450k on a new state of the art fire truck; fixed drainage problems on Second Street; fought for and obtained funding to replace the Clark Street Bridge; and invested $400k in paving projects.
The Mayor also noted the unique challenges of a running City that is only one mile wide and six miles long.
McDermott stated that it’s very expensive to live in the Pass. Although property values have risen, so have the costs to build in the City. This in part, is due to government mandated and extremely stringent elevation and height related demands placed on builders.
In some cases, this has prevented young people from being able to afford living in the Pass.
One of his ongoing themes is the need to continue supporting local businesses. In order to keep the businesses we have as well as to attract new businesses, we should shop first and shop often at Pass businesses. If we don’t, we stand the chance of losing the businesses that we already have.
McDermott further commented, “We must patronize our businesses or we’re just cutting ribbons”.
Additionally, the Mayor mentioned that he and the Board of Alderman are researching the best ways of potentially using BP money to better the City of Pass Christian. In fact he asked the audience to share any project ideas that they may have to ensure that BP funds are effectively utilized to support the Pass.
Mayor McDermott quoted Roman 5:3-4 to express coastal residents deal with the ongoing challenges of living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, 3.) “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4.) perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Regardless of our challenges, the Pass always rises to meet them head on.