Poplarville’s new mayor shares goals, impression of first month in office – Picayune Item


Mayor Louise Smith’s first four weeks in office have been “exciting and busy”. Before being elected, Smith was a resident of Poplarville for 44 years, a retired educator for 30 years, a teacher and a school principal. She also worked as a grant writer and caregiver for her husband with Alzheimer’s disease. When the opportunity to become Poplarville’s new mayor arose, Smith was excited and determined to win the election because she believes she can help the city grow. Her election means that Smith is the first female mayor of Poplaville.

“I’m proud to be this,” Smith said.

Being the first or only woman in a field is nothing new to Smith. When she was director, there weren’t many women in that position at the time. And when she was the sports director, she was the only woman at these meetings.

“There are a lot of differences in running a school versus a city,” Smith said.

During her tenure, she met many people from across the community as well as other mayors while attending Mississippi Municipal League conferences. Smith has also been in contact with the Poplarville community recently. She spoke with representatives from the local NAACP last Friday, discussing what events they want to host for the community.

“I regularly meet people. I’m in my fourth week and a lot of things are happening to me quickly and I’ve been given a lot of information and I’m working on my plans, but meeting people is mostly what I’m trying to do, ”said Smith. .

Smith might even ask for volunteers to bring in young people to help him with his research and other things to do.

She looks forward to working and building relationships with everyone she meets.

She is now in the “informative phase”, a phase that requires many meetings where she is involved in reviewing budgeting plans and seeking improvements for infrastructure and economic development. Smith’s platform for improving Poplaville is based on three fundamental goals; economic development, improved infrastructure and improved city and community engagement.

Poplarville town center has many empty buildings and streets in need of repair.

“A lot of the facades need work and I want to improve that,” Smith said.

She plans to apply for grants and use the Main Street programs to help improve the downtown area. Smith said she would put her plans in place so that when the grant money arrives, the city can use it to improve many things such as repairing streets and improving the water supply system. , which has been a problem recently.

“Picayune is a member of Main Street and they’ve done a terrific job in their downtown area,” Smith said.

Smith doesn’t have a specific plan to boost job creation yet, but opportunities for new jobs will arise. Forest General Health is planning to build a new hospital and there are plans to build an industrial park near Highway 26 near the current location of Love’s Travel Center. Both are expected to be funded from the Gulf Coast Restoration Grant Funds.

Smith wants to keep education a top priority while she is mayor.

“I will always be there as a best supporter, education is always number one,” Smith said.

She is excited about the programs Pear River Community College has to offer, including workforce development.

“If you love what you’re doing and you’re committed, it all falls into place,” Smith said.

Smith was very proud of her when she was named Citizen of the Year for Poplarville. She wasn’t looking for this honor, but she was always a hard worker and continued to look for ways to improve Poplarville and her community.

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