Jackson County leaders coordinate Restore Act funding projects

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - As BP's civil trial in New Orleans continues, there is no denying that big money is at stake if the oil giant is found guilty. A large chunk of those funds could be used right here to restore the Gulf Coast.

Jackson County officials met Thursday to reveal their restoration wish list.

"The amount of the funding and timeframe is still uncertain, but our goal in Jackson County is to be as project ready as possible," Chamber Regional Strategy Chair Brenda Simkins said.

Pascagoula City Manager Joe Huffman told the crowd his city is focusing on waterfront development, including building a promenade.

"There is a lot of residential area south of Highway 90. So when you think of all the residential opportunities and what attracts residents to an area, the promenade will help lure those people in."

Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran wants to expand Highway 90 to six lanes.

"Not just expanding to a six lane expressway, but also have appropriate lighting, and connectivity."

Moss Point Mayor Aniece Liddell said improving the Riverfront, old infrastructure and even creating a bus route are some of the top needs in her city.

"They can come downtown; they can get off the bus and enjoy our Audubon Center that is going to downtown. We connect to Highway 613 and 63, so we can bring the tourism dollars into Moss Point."

Gautier's focus is also tourism and improving the quality of life. And developing the town center, a river harbor and bike paths are part of the city's vision.

"These are the kinds of projects that attract people to live in your county," Gautier City Manager Samantha Abell said.

Jackson County Supervisor John McKay also listed a few plans for the county, which included expanding Trent Lott Airport to attract more economic development.

Jackson County leaders know some of these wishes will not be granted, but all say the main goal is to make sure both the environment and the economy recover from BP's devastating oil spill.

Last year, the governor created GoCoast 2020, a group of local leaders that will also help steer BP oil spill fine money in the right direction.

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