Long-awaited lighting project in final stretch

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Go to Pascagoula's Beach Boulevard and you'll almost certainly find someone fishing, walking or riding a bike. For the past four years, the fun ends when the sun sets.

"We noticed a few weeks ago," said Joe Stallworth, while fishing off the pier on Beach Boulevard. "We were fishing off [Beach Boulevard], and we had to leave early because there wasn't enough lighting."

"It's very dark at night, and we don't feel like it's real safe down here," said Camille Sykes, who lives on Beach Boulevard.

A few months ago, the city awarded a contract to replace the lights damaged in Katrina. Those damaged lights are finally off the street, in what appears to be the last segment of the long-awaited project. City officials said they opted to relight Beach Boulevard as part of a large-scale improvement to the street. Other improvements on the way are an extended beach, a promenade and updated water and sewer lines.

"They have removed a lot of damage to the material and are looking at wire, so they know what needs to be replaced and what they can reuse," said Pascagoula Program Manager Jaci Turner. "So as soon as all the new material is in, you should see poles and lights go up."

Those lights can't come soon enough for residents who live and play on Beach Boulevard.

"I did not expect it to take this long," Sykes said.

Sykes said she understands projects can take a while, but she's noticed some people are growing impatient with the delay on relighting.

"We're extremely impatient about it, also," Turner said.  "Unfortunately, given the economic situation, nobody stocks materials anymore. So every project that we have, they have to order new materials. It does slow just about every project down, but we are moving forward with it. And that's the good thing."

Turner said even with the economy slowing things down, she expects the lights will be up and running within 90 days.

"Maybe they can get it fixed real soon," Sykes said.  "They have been working on it, but we did expect it to be before now."

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