Ocean Springs leaders want Front Beach fixed soon

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The storm and wave damaged sidewalk on Front beach in Ocean Springs will soon be fixed after being closed off for several weeks now.

During Tuesday's Board of Aldermen meeting Ward Two Aldermen Matt McDonnell asked city leaders to approve getting the specifications drawn up and once that's completed go out to bid and they agreed. McDonnell says there are too many people who use the sidewalk to continue letting it go unrepaired.

McDonnell says the city as identified a portion of the issues with the sidewalk with an estimated cost of $40,000 to fix just 250 feet of it. But he says the city has learned the issues with the sidewalk are more extensive.

"That's why I'm asking that we shift as much of the tidelands money that's available to us to the project because there are some unknowns. Until we get a total image of the damage that's currently along the entire sidewalk we won't know what we can fix or can't fix," said Ward Two Alderman Matt McDonnell.

McDonnell says the city has two sources of funding for the sidewalk. The first comes from a pledge of up to $25,000 from DMR and the second is $50,000 from a tidelands grant. With the funding in place, McDonnell says there's no sense in waiting any longer to make a permanent fix on the sidewalk so the detour won't be needed.

The people who walk on Front Beach say they're ready for the damage to go away and they are ready for their daily exercise to be made safer.

"It is a little bit of a headache. You know? It's easier to run straight through and there is a lot more room instead of having to bypass other people on the side and then it's just kind of dangerous with it all muddy and all the rain lately," said jogger Jessica Russell.

"It's unsightly. This is a really nice place to come, walk with your family, enjoy the beach and having to put yourself out with the traffic with a young child is not the best situation," said Peter Gentry, who bikes on Front Beach with his wife and son often.

McDonnell says by the time the city awards a bid, it could take another six to eight weeks before the sidewalk is completely repaired.

During a board meeting last month, the city also brought up moving the damaged section of the sidewalk back further away from the water to keep erosion from happening.

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