What should happen with beach front property in Ocean Springs?

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The future use of a piece of beachfront property in Ocean Springs is being debated in the city these days.

The property, located at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Front Beach Drive, was purchased by the state for $800,000 when it was declared flood prone by the federal government.  The city will maintain control of the one acre parcel. But what should go there?

The piece of property is in a prime location in Ocean Springs, right on the water with breathtaking views of the sound.

Ryan Otthofer jogs along the beach every day. He has a clear idea of what he wants to see there.

"Something that wouldn't cost the city too much money," Ottholder said. "Maybe a small pavilion, some benches, something for people to come out and picnic or something like that."

Sonya Griffin also enjoys the view of the beach most days.  She has another idea.

"I was thinking maybe a place where people, like tourists, can buy seashells and things like that," Griffin said. "A gift shop maybe?"

Eric Meyer is the city's planning director. He said that idea probably won't happen because of restrictions placed on the property when it was declared prone to flooding.

"We can't build a structure down here. We can't cover the lot with parking and asphalt," Meyer said.  "It has to remain a pervious area, so that water can filter through the dirt."

The future use of the piece of property on Front Beach in Ocean Springs remains unclear at this point.  But one thing is certain from the people who use the beach front: the property needs to be used for the greater public good.

C.B. Saucier walks the beach almost every day.

"What Ocean Springs has done with this walkway is unbelievable. It's second to nobody," Saucier said.  "And if they put a little park with more recreation for young kids, it would be wonderful."

But the most talked about idea has nothing to do with human use, according to Meyer.

"The dog park idea is out there," Meyer said.  "We've been approached by dog owners and some veterinarians who have seen it in other towns and be a success.  We have a lot of folks walk their dogs on the beach as it is, so would this be a good place to take your dog off leash and let them play."

It will be several weeks before any final decision on the use of the property will be made, after public input is gathered and analyzed by city officials.

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