PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula plans to spend $3.5 million giving its local beach a face lift. The improvements are part of the city's promenade project that began after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The city's recreation Director Darcie Crew says expanding the sidewalk more than a mile is on the to-do-list. The expansion will ensure that people who like to run or walk on the beach won't have worry about dodging cars.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of people who walk the beach everyday, and this will provide them a safer place to walk without riding next to the traffic," said Crew. "It gives them a barrier between the traffic and walkway and hopefully, that will leave of room for bicycle pathways along the roadway."
People at the beach say the expansion is long overdue.
"I think it is a great opportunity for the city of Pascagoula to encourage fitness, and I am excited about it because I can run easier," said Pascagoula resident Devin Busby.
However, the sidewalk expansion is just one of several beach upgrades to help attract more people to the area.
"The amenities that we will add will be to replace the existing lighting with the black, decorative LED light poles, so we can have energy cost savings. We will have our shade structures that we will be installing and our picnic tables and benches our drinking fountains," Crew added.
Crew says the makeover is being paid for with Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds from BP.
"The grant agreement has been executed with DEQ, so we are ready to proceed. The engineers are getting ready with the construction plans as we speak," noted Crew.
"We really don't have much to do out here. When you come out here all you have is the beach and the sand, so that is good they are adding more stuff. I say the more the better," said Gautier resident David Joseph.
The city plans to start accepting bids on the project in October, construction could begin as early as December.