BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - If money comes through from tidelands funds, the scour pad that is designed to protect the seawall in Bay St. Louis may become more like the handicapped access to the new harbor.
A boardwalk is a happy medium that city leaders say they have reached with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in hopes that it will lead to a clearer understanding of what to do with a small public space owned by the state and leased by the city.
"If we can get our walkway or boardwalk done this year, then I think it will open us up to a lot of different opportunities to converse about how we use this precious little green space in downtown Bay St. Louis going forward," said Mayor Les Fillingame.
The scour pad is one of the busiest areas in the city for walkers and joggers, but it is not ADA compliant. It would cost about $300,000 to build the boardwalk to Demontluzin Avenue, where a public access ramp to the pier would be added.
Fillingame says that if tideland funds are approved to the level they normally are for the city, the boardwalk could be completed by summer; adding that construction time would be only about 45 days.
The mayor also says a meeting he had with Hosemann was constructive, but the secretary made his intentions clear.
"The Secretary of State is very adamant about this whole area belong to every tax payer in the state, and he's very committed to maintaining their access to here."
It's precious green space that Thomas Genin has been trying to use since he built The Blind Tiger restaurant. At this point, Genin says he's not asking for exclusive access - just some.
"It's obviously right next to my business that has true expense and overhead, so, yeah, there's some sensitivities there," Genin said. "But for the most part, I think that if businesses could use it for things they need periodically throughout the year, it's a win for everybody."