Marina Development Attracts Praise And Concern

Plans for a 400 slip marina and adjoining condominium complex are attracting both praise and concern in Ocean Springs.

The development would be located on Biloxi Bay between the old fishing bridge and the railroad bridge. It is a prime piece of waterfront real estate.

Developer, Steve Wilson, envisions a "first class" project that begins with a 400 slip marina. The land based plans include 120 condos and a retail complex.

"A high end development such as that has little or no impact on the city except the positive inflow of taxes. And we need them. We need those taxes," said Ocean Springs alderman at large, Danny Jalanavich.

He says development of the land is inevitable, especially given the ongoing building boom.

"On the sales tax end of it, the people that's buying these condos they're going to be right down here on Washington Avenue buying products, dresses, pottery. They're going to be going to our restaurants, our filling stations. It's just a win-win situation," he explained.

Some neighbors of the project aren't as excited by the prospect of added tax revenue for the city. They look at the proposed development from a much different point of view.

Dr. Eldon McClain and his wife Dixie have lived next to the proposed site for some 16 years. Their biggest fears involve the sheer size of the development.

"That's a good place for something, but I don't think it needs to be the biggest marina in the state of Mississippi," he said.

Things like traffic and pollution are potential problems.

"What affects me, affects my neighbor. And I don't think everyone follows the rules when it comes to discarding their trash," Dixie McClain added.

The McClain's are encouraging neighbors to attend a public hearing next week. It's the first step in deciding whether this project gets the go ahead.

The Department of Marine Resources will hold a public hearing on the marina project this Monday evening, March 21st.

That meeting will be held in the Bolton Building auditorium in Biloxi, beginning at six o'clock.