D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The idea of dolphins splashing around a D'Iberville oceanarium seemed like a dream for the city and for oceanarium's developer. But, that dream appears to be over.
"I don't think it's coming to D'Iberville," City Manager Bobby Eleuterius said Monday afternoon. "We don't have a contract."
Dr. Moby Solangi tells WLOX News the site on the interstate where he held a groundbreaking to announce his Ocean Expo project is now considered "problematic." What's the problem? He recently learned new I-10 off ramps will create noise that pose a risk to the mammals.
"It's looking like the site isn't feasible because of the roadways and how things are being designed," he said.
So, what will Dr. Solangi do?
"There are several different proposals that have been presented to us in different places," Solangi said. "Several different groups want us to move there."
Those groups, says Solangi, have floated the idea of moving the oceanarium to Biloxi, Gulfport, or a city in Alabama.
"These are all different people wanting to do different things," he said.
The ceremony to unveil the Ocean Expo was held in December 2011. At the time, Solangi's group said a location near I-10 and I-110 would be the perfect spot for tourists to visit the estimated $80 million aquarium. But, other than ceremonial shovels going into ground, construction on the Ocean Expo never came out of the ground.
Once MDOT crews brought their own shovels to that part of D'Iberville and started building an interstate off ramp adjacent to the Ocean Expo site, Solangi realized his days on that property were numbered.
"It's so problematic, we're look at other options," he said.
Some of those options can be seen in drawings that have surfaced in recent days.
"All these are artists renderings, what could be," said Solangi, while noting the conceptual pictures are nothing more than options.
In the meantime, D'Iberville is moving ahead without the aquarium on its radar.
"We're looking at other ways to market and use the property," Eleuterius said.