Some Businesses Say Closed Beaches Bad For Business

Harrison County is looking for solutions to the pollution problems that have repeatedly plagued its beaches. On Friday a section of beach in front of the Veterans Hospital in Gulfport was declared off limits to swimmers. Two other sections of beach were already closed.

Some tourists say if they'd known some parts of the beach would have no swimming signs they probably would have made other vacation plans.

"We probably would have ended up going to Gulf Shores," Coast tourist Jennifer Story said. "We probably wouldn't have come down to Gulfport. We probably would have gone down a little further east."

The manager of a hotel on Hwy. 90 says business has gone down since word spread about Harrison County beach closings. He says tourists are already shying away.

"They called in," hotel manager Robert Carlisle said. "They had reservations, and they were very concerned that the beach is closed. They wanted me to assure them that the beach would be open. There was no way that I can assure anybody that this beach will ever be open 'cause it's closed so many times."

Harrison County officials are looking for more long-term solutions other than closing parts of the beach. The Sand Beach Department has applied for a $500,000 grant to fund an in depth study of what is causing the pollution problem.

"The goal is if we can identify the source then we can go ahead and make plans to correct that particular situation and go ahead and prevent these closings from occurring in the future," Harrison County Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver said/

However some businesses say beach closings are costing them money right now.

by Danielle Thomas