Water Service In Doubt For Ocean Springs Church

Some members of the St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs are concerned there may be some major and costly delays in the Family Life Center being built in the eastern part of the city, at the corner of Highway 90 and Highway 57.

The project, at a cost of $3 million, is on schedule and should be complete early next year. The project is on city and county property. Although there was no formal agreement on paper, church leaders say city officials told them, sewer and water service would be available when the church needed it. Only last week, did church leaders learn, it may be a long time before sewer and water lines are run to the church.

Ocean Springs Mayor Seren Ainsworth says sometimes these things happen when government projects are involved.

"We kind of gave them an indication that water and sewer would be out there," says Ainsworth, "Things happen, and I hate this. That is all part of the process, things get de-railed."

If the church does not have water and sewer lines relatively soon, they may have to temporarily shut down the construction work, and that, would be costly.

Dr. Chris Duke, an Ocean Springs veterinarian, heads up the church's building committee.

"It would cost us about $20,000 a month if we had to suspend the project," Duke says.

Duke insists the church does not intend to be critical of city leaders. They do, however, wonder what the city is going to do about a project the church had been told, was a high priority.

"We are getting put back on the back burner, and then again on the back burner and apparently we have just not been made a priority. Now time has slipped away while we are waiting," Duke says.

Mayor Ainsworth says running water and sewer lines to that part of the city is a top priority. At next weeks board meeting, aldermen will vote on running water lines to the church. But will it come soon enough? The mayor thinks so.

"We would have to go through the bidding process, that would take anywhere from four to six weeks," says Ainsworth. "Then getting the company mobilized to come back in. You are probably looking at getting, at the earliest, water out there by the end of February."

Duke says the church could work with February, but if it's much later than that, there are going to be problems.