OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs mayor calls the project the "most important public facility ever" in that city. Mayor Connie Moran and city leaders broke ground Wednesday afternoon on a long awaited public safety center.
Police officers especially are looking forward to some new and larger space.
"This project will be Ocean Springs first comprehensive public safety complex," said Mayor Connie Moran, during her remarks at the ceremony.
As city leaders kicked off the formal ground breaking celebration, heavy equipment cleared the land that will soon house the city's nearly 40,000 square foot public safety center.
The center will include a new police headquarters, courtroom, jail and fire station. The fire house on Deena Road will relocate to the new site next door to the civic center.
"It sure is nice that it's coming together. It's going to be great for the guys, the firefighters and the police officers who are going to enjoy this," said Fire Chief Pat Williams.
Police officers are especially excited. They've endured less than adequate facilities for years.
"It's monumental. I think you were in our building earlier today and kind of looked at some of the conditions we are in now. Still leaking roofs and still leftover damage from Katrina that we deal with daily. Every time it rains. And we're overjoyed to have this opportunity to move into a new building," said police officer Mike Sweeney.
Alderman Matt McDonnell credited the mayor with leading the effort to have voters approve the two percent food and beverage levy that will pay for the new center.
"She went to the people and she sold the concept on why we needed a two percent, how it was going to pay for it, the amount of money it was going to raise. And the fact the people outside our city would help fund these projects," he said.
"We knew it was the right thing to do. And we thank the citizens of Ocean Springs for voting for that. And here it is to fruition, for the public safety center and our two new recreation facilities," said Mayor Moran.
Land clearing is underway for the new center. Construction begins this fall.