OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For David Harris, it all boiled down to timing. The owner of the Harbor Landing Yacht Club heard the Department of Marine Resources was buying land under a federally-funded program. He became sold on the idea and now so is his land.
But, Harris said the timing was right for another reason. Running a seven-day a week business, Harris said the sale would allow his family more time with each other.
Thinking back on the time he spent with this children, he said, "My two sons have two kids. [During] the spring, summer and fall, they're down here 70 hours a week or more. They don't have time to spend with their kids and I don't like that...It's a quality of life issue."
Nearly 200 boats are stored in Harris' dock and storage property. It will be bought up as part of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program. It's a federal program from which states can receive grants to buy land. It targets land in flood plains and areas it can restore to a more natural setting. The goal is to reduce damage from future hurricanes.
According to DMR's Executive Director Bill Walker, "Substantial structures will not be rebuilt on the property. I've had some initial conversations with the county to kind of blend that property in with future plans for the harbor where there'd be a park space or partially used for parking."
Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran said some have expressed concern about the closing of Harbor Landing putting more boat trailers and boats on the road, creating more congestion.
There's also some concern over where boaters can park their boats. For now, there is a temporary fix. DMR has agreed to let Harris keep his boat storage shed and slips for the next year and a half.
"[It's] going to give us ample time for our customers to relocate and do what they want to do," Harris said.
Walker said DMR will continue working with the city and county to work through issues stemming from the sale.
Neither Harris nor Walker would disclose how much the property sold for. However, Harris said it was his decision to sell.
DMR said this buy back is one project among others that could continue popping up along the coast underwritten with grant funding.