Facelift Set For Hancock County Beach

Work crews fight a tough battle daily to keep the sand off of the Road and on the Beach. Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili destroyed most of the fiber fences designed to help keep the sand in place.

"Because the sand is higher than the road the sand will blow on the road so it becomes a real traffic hazard." County work crews have been busy installing new fencing along the beach," beach crew foreman Gary Necaise said. "We're about 40 percent complete and we have about another 25-thousand feet to put up."

Fencing is going up every 100 feet along a five mile stretch of the beach from Bay St. Louis to Waveland. A $13,000 investment that officials say with help keep 80 percent of the sand from leaving the beach.

Necaise said the beach has come along way. And beach goers like Todd Read are starting to take notice.

"It's looking nice and clean. It's probably the cleanest I've seen it since I've been here," Read said.

County leaders say they're committed to upgrading the beach for residents and tourists. Next year's tideland funds have already been ear marked for beach improvements near the Washington Street Pier.

"We're going to put some bathroom facilities with showers, we're going to upgrade the finger piers at the boat launch, and try to enhance this area a little bit," District 4 Supervisor Steve Seymour said.

Fencing work is scheduled to wrap-up in July. Grasses will be planted around the fences to help keep the sand on the beach where it belongs.

Bids are expected to be opened on the upcoming beach replenishment project in July. FEMA will share the cost of that project with the County. It's been nearly 10 years since Hancock County beaches have seen a major sand restoration.

by Al Showers