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Under the leadership of Katharine Ohman, the Hancock Chamber of Commerce’s Beautification Committee has been transforming Hancock County into an even more picturesque and eco-friendly place. With a career background in education and psychology and as the former owner of a landscaping company, Katharine brings a unique blend of skills and passion to the committee’s endeavors. She sees the importance of beautification to quality of life and its connection to community mental health as well as how it leads to economic development.

This active group operates behind the scenes, focusing on replenishing native plants and planting trees to enhance the natural ecosystem. Their efforts not only beautify the area but also contribute significantly to environmental sustainability.

One of the committee’s notable achievements is the adoption of the Louisiana Iris as Bay St. Louis’s official city flower. The committee has planted these irises along roads and in neutral grounds. These flowers are not only visually stunning but also play a critical role in mitigating flood risks. Their natural absorbency helps prevent sediment and fuel runoff from entering waterways and combats erosion.

Over the years, the committee has secured numerous donations, enabling them to add thousands of trees and plants to Hancock County’s landscape. These contributions have had a lasting impact on the community, creating greener and more inviting spaces for residents and visitors alike.

Another significant project spearheaded by the committee is the establishment of the Bay St. Louis Community Garden.The harvested produce is donated to the local senior citizen center and the food pantry, ensuring that the benefits of this initiative extend to the most vulnerable members of the community.

Beautification is more than just enhancing the visual appeal of a community. It fosters a sense of pride among residents, promotes environmental sustainability, and can even drive economic benefits by attracting tourists and new businesses. The Hancock Chamber of Commerce’s Beautification Committee exemplifies how dedicated individuals can make a substantial impact through thoughtful, community-driven projects. Their work not only makes Hancock County a more beautiful place but also ensures that it remains vibrant and resilient for future generations.

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