Harrison County Beaches Should Reopen In Three Months

Debris on Harrison County's beaches will be cleaned soon. Big plans are already in the works to get the beaches ready for visitors.

The director of the Sand Beach Authority says work has begun to get the beach in tip top shape before summer. But in just three months, most of the beach will be open again for everyone to enjoy.

Harrison County's Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver is still in awe at what Katrina did to his beautiful beach, but he's optimistic about it's future.

"All we can do is move forward, and look with optimism, and make this place as good as we possibly can," Weaver says.

To make it the best it can be, several projects are already in the works, like sand screening for debris.

"What it is, it's going to collect those items that larger than 3/8ths of an inch, the project should start next week."

Weaver says the sand cleaning should only take 90 days to complete.

"At that point, the beach will be accessible."

The newly accessible beach will also have new sand, much of the beach was blown away by Katrina. So, in April the Army Corps of Engineers will start a re-nourishment project.

"Segments of the beach may be inaccessible because of the renourishment project. There will be a dredge operation pumping new sand on the beach."

After years of work, the $10 million boardwalk project was finally finished just one month before Katrina ripped it to shreds.

"It's funny cause we're submitting documentation to the board for the completion of the boardwalk. Because we were interrupted by the storm, we weren't able to get all of the paperwork finished. From the documentation side it still wasn't complete until now. So, it's a little ironic after this we don't have half the boardwalk in place."

The long boardwalk and the sand will be replaced, even all of the piers will be rebuilt eventually. But while work continues, Weaver says, beach lovers will have back a big part of what they treasure fairly soon.

"Some parts will be impacted throughout the summer, but there still will be a lot of areas of the beach that people will come out and enjoy the beach and hopefully venture out into the sound."

Money to fund all of these multi million dollar projects shouldn't be a problem. Weaver says FEMA has already agreed to fund almost all of the work on South Mississippi beaches.