Hosemann pleased with progress of Deer Island pier project - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hosemann pleased with progress of Deer Island pier project

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, left, and Jamie Miller, executive director of the Department of Marine Resources inspect the progress of the Deer Island pier project. (Photo source: WLOX News) Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, left, and Jamie Miller, executive director of the Department of Marine Resources inspect the progress of the Deer Island pier project. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Construction of the Deer Island pier may be complete by the end of the year, but estimates are that the pier should be open by the end of January. (Photo source: WLOX News) Construction of the Deer Island pier may be complete by the end of the year, but estimates are that the pier should be open by the end of January. (Photo source: WLOX News)
DEER ISLAND, MS (WLOX) -

It’s been just months in the making, but South Mississippians could have an easier way to access Deer Island by the end of January 2016.

A 170-foot pier will provide better access by boat to Deer Island, and is relatively small investment for what could be millions of dollars in tourism for South Mississippi.

“Our goal that has been from the very first, to get people that come here to spend one more day here,” Hosemann said. “Just one more day. It’s a huge economic benefit.”

Pier construction began in the summer with concrete pilings and composite boards. As part of the project, officials are working toward providing some type of public shuttle service that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says should be available sometime in 2016.

Cost of the pier is about $360,000, paid by Tideland Funds, mostly from casinos; even the newest ones.

“The Scarlet Pearl opened today,” he said. “I sent them a bill. And the bill was for $471,000. That money goes back into the tidelands that pays for this pier.”

Whether or not the pier will be the only infrastructure development on Deer Island is up in the air. Hosemann and Department of Marine Resources director Jamie Miller say any additional amenities would be scrutinized carefully.

“We want to make sure that it’s a pristine location,” Hosemann said. “Now, when you start adding structures here, for example, shelters, restrooms, any commercial activity, that removes some of the pristine nature.”

Miller agreed.

“We’re going to keep this island as close to natural as we can, but at the same time we’re going to make sure people are safe if they come out here.”

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