To find out what Ocean Springs citizens want in recreation and enhanced public safety, Mayor Connie Moran appointed two committees. One will study recreation, the other will debate public safety choices.
"To see how we might be able to scale down the building or build it in phases. Each committee will weigh the different alternatives, options, financing including perhaps a special sales tax on restaurant and liquor for a recreation center," the mayor said.
More recreation opportunities and consolidating the police and fire departments under one roof would be welcome in Ocean Springs, but the mayor says not at the price the city was asking in the June bond referendum.
"I don't think the people were ready for an $11 million bite, shall we say, and the taxes that would come along with that to do both projects at one time."
All the information collected by the two committees will be presented during a public hearing in September. It's there that the mayor expects to gauge exactly what's on residents' minds.
"On what they would like to see happen, where, how much, plan and design and clearly communicating that to the citizens. I think that was probably an element that was missing in the bond referendum."
The city has already bought the land to build a new public safety center. It would be located next to the civic center on Highway 90 in East Ocean Springs.