Gautier Plans To Acquire State Park

Shepard State Park sits in the heart of Gautier, and has been at the heart of numerous discussions recently between state and local leaders.

"We've been working with the state for several months. Our city manager and our council negotiated with the state and we heard that it was a possibility that we might be able to acquire this property for our city," said Gautier Mayor Pete Pope.

If the state signs off on the deal, the park will soon become the property and the responsibility of the City of Gautier.

Mayor Pope hopes the city will decide on a few additions to draw more visitors, and allowing the 450-acre park to be self supporting.

Since Hurricane Katrina, Shepard State Park has served as a FEMA trailer site. But there are only about three trailers left.

If everything goes as planned, Mayor Pete Pope hopes cabins will be erected in their places, to allow visitors to come out and enjoy the natural beauty of this area.

"I've spent many, many happy hours walking through this park, soul searching, just relaxing. And I think a lot of people can do that," said Pope.

He says he believes acquiring the park now would be an investment in the future.

"I'm just extremely proud of our city. I think our council made a good decision last night and I think that probably in years to come, our city will reap the benefits of this prime piece of real estate property," said Pope.

Again, the state must approve the deal. Mayor Pope says he doesn't expect the state to take very long in making its decision.