Mayor Moran, supervisors talk harbor improvements

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Big changes could be on the way to Ocean Springs Harbor. The Jackson County Board of Supervisors gave their official support to Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran Monday, for some major harbor improvements. The idea is to make a safer, greener harbor, with an improved aesthetic.

"A small boardwalk for pedestrians, a green strip for storm water runoff filtration, better lighting," listed Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.  "And to somehow separate the boat trailer traffic from the rest of the traffic.  So it's about public safety, public access, better environmental control."

"I want to see the improvements we're talking about," District 5 Supervisor John McKay said during the meeting.  "I think we definitely want to work with you to make the harbor, I know Tommy [Brodnax- District 4 Supervisor] and I want to work with you to make the harbor a pretty, safe place."

The county gave Ocean Springs its official support at Monday's meeting, but the city needs more from the county to make the conceptual drawings a reality.

"We have an opportunity with some money that the county has from FEMA," Moran said.  "And the city would like to ask them to consider, as much as possible, for them to consider using some of those funds to reconfigure Harbor Drive."

The county will have to decide how much of that money they can use for harbor improvements.  Much of that could depend on further exploration into the cost of the project, particularly engineers' diagrams, Moran said.

Moran also presented to the board plans for Front Beach.  They include a walkway from the bridge to the harbor, and better lighting.  The plan would place twice the lights down Front Beach, at half the current height.  The proposed lighting project is almost ready to go, but the walkway cannot begin until the county replenishes the beach.  Moran said the county is in the process of getting permits to replenish its beaches, including Front Beach and East Beach.

"Hopefully in September those permits will be acquired and the county will then replenish the beach, not only on Front Beach, but also on East Beach in Ocean Springs," Moran said.  "Then the city can proceed with our Front Beach walkway project."

Both county officials and Mayor Moran are ready to see these improvements underway.

"I want to do everything I can to support them, to make sure that that plan that the public approved is incorporated in the harbor," said Tommy Brodnax, District 4 Supervisor.  The harbor is part of his district.

"I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors on these projects," Moran said.

Moran said the harbor project probably wouldn't begin construction until at least November.

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