Biloxi's back bay marina still a wreck

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - At first glance, the Lighthouse Fish Dock looks like any other peaceful marina. But the piers have seen much better days. There are gaping holes everywhere, and some areas are blocked off all together.

It's going to take a bucket full of money, $2 million, to make this marina shipshape once again. But there's a problem, according to Biloxi Port Manager Frankie Duggan.

"Right now, we have a little hold up with FEMA," Duggan said. "They have a couple of issues that they're trying to work out with our engineers. It looks like we'll have them worked out and possibly go to bid in 45 to 60 days."

Despite the problems, many shrimpers dock their large boats at the marina because it's one of the few large enough to handle vessels 50 feet and longer. But getting around is no easy task. Even though the city has made several temporary repairs over the years, you still better watch your step when you're crossing over some of the barriers, because again, they are temporary in nature.

Public safety is a concern, but Duggan said the shrimpers know how to deal with the situation.

"We've got it safe enough so you can walk to and from the boats.  We don't allow any unloading here, so that's one good thing. And most of the people here have been real careful and they understand what the condition of the pier is."

Overseeing the operation, with all its problems, is frustrating for the Harbormaster Leroy Manuel.  He talks to the boat owners on a daily basis.

"Well, in a way it is. But this is part of what I'm responsible for," Manuel said. "We also want the public safety and everything, so we try and keep the public off as much as we can."

He's just waiting for the day when the everyone can once again visit the marina and enjoy the view.

Once the bids are approved for the reconstruction of the marina, the job should take about half a year to complete.

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