Grant is first step to Long Beach Harbor improvements

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Long Beach Harbor is filled to the brim with boats, and there's a long waiting list for slips.  That's why the city is looking at expanding the harbor. A $1.1 million grant will make the wait a little shorter.

"We've waited for many years to find the financial support to actually put a comprehensive plan together for the harbor, and this is a great shot for us to be able to put it together," said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie.

The grant was awarded through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.  It will be used to hire consultants and engineers to look at the best way to improve the harbor.

"We're trying to eventually expand to the west here behind me to Jeff Davis Avenue. Certainly, you have to have the engineering and architectural concepts and designs, environmental studies and all that go along with that. This will help fund that," said Skellie.

"We have to adhere to a lot of regulations such as best management practices. We have to install a green marina and a clean marina program for Mississippi. That's all part of this," said Port and Harbor Commission President Phil Keys.

Though it has taken a while to get the grant, the city mayor believes the time is right for more improvement to the harbor and the city.

According to Skellie, "Everything is economically moving in the right direction, which it should be as time comes. It's all part of what you try to do to keep people here, to bring tourists, to sustain your economy."

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