PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A large crowd gathered in Pass Christian Tuesday to help celebrate the city's new harbor. Governor Phil Bryant joined Mayor Chipper McDermott and others to dedicate the $35 million development.
After years of paperwork, permits and construction, the project is nearly finished. Pass Christian's mayor made it clear: He and the city have been though a lot with this harbor project.
"We've been through two governors, two secretary of states, four MDA directors, three boards of aldermen, two project managers, two grant administrators, one tired attorney and one wore out mayor, I can promise you that," the popular mayor said.
Governor Phil Bryant told the crowd they'll long remember this day.
"The day that all of us gathered to say that there's a new opportunity in Pass Christian. This safe and wonderful harbor is at last here," said Governor Bryant.
Longtime resident Major Cerra certainly likes what he sees with the new harbor.
"It's beautiful, it's really beautiful. It's the showplace of the coast," he said.
David James is a former Pass resident who moved to Chicago. He's happy this visit coincided with the harbor dedication and believes the new harbor will help the local economy.
"I think so. I think it already has. Brought some jobs and commerce into the city. Got a heck of a mayor here, too," said James.
The outspoken mayor likened himself to Noah and the reaction he got over building an ark.
"I read a lot about him recently. I can just imagine how he looked when he started building that thing and laying it out and they told him how crazy he was and how he wouldn't do it," said Mayor McDermott.
When they kicked off construction of the harbor, the mayor shared a shot of whiskey with then-Governor Haley Barbour. This time, he and Gov. Bryant, smashed champagne bottles.
This new harbor caters to the commercial seafood industry, providing a new and less crowded spot to load fresh shrimp and oysters onto waiting trucks.
As the mayor put it, "we're celebrating not just a harbor, but a way of life."
There was plenty of paperwork and permits required for the harbor project. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann joked that Mayor McDermott signed enough paperwork to "fill the harbor."