Jackson County Leaders Look At Coastal Improvement Projects

"We want to make the coast safe against drowning, and help kids learn how to swim," YMCA Represent Virginia Wieck said.

"We have some proposals to buy some natural areas and preserve them as natural areas," Gautier City Planner George Carbo said.

It seemed like everybody and every organization had their opinion about how to protect Mississippi's costal areas.

Mark LaSalle from the Pascagoula Audubon Center was among those offering up an opinion. He wants to educate people on the costal impacts of the Pascagoula River.

"Our natural resource, we need to enhance our quality of life in ways we do not really understand and that is what we need to get across," Director Mark LaSalle said.

You're probably wondering where the money will come from to pay for these projects. That's where the Costal Impact Assistance Program comes in with millions of dollars in federal funds.

"Jackson County is getting between 3.3 to 3.8 million per year for four year for fiscal years," CIAP Coordinator Sarah Kendt said.

"The goal of the CIAP program is to be able to use this money that the government has earmarked for Jackson County, and to be able to improve our costal areas and costal zones for the betterment of all the citizens."

Just which projects will make the cut is the goal of Tuesday night's meeting. The final decision rests with County Supervisors. District 5 Supervisor John McKay expects it to be a difficult one.

"I have been impressed with all the different projects," Supervisor John McKay said.

"The city of Pascagoula has a sewer project, the city of Moss Point has a sewer project, and a land acquisition project, the city of Ocean Springs has a sewer project and a Fort Maurepas."

With so many proposals to chose from, McKay says, in the end, the board will do what is best for the county.

"Hopefully we can divide this money up and every city has something to show for it at the end."

Nine different organizations from all four Jackson County cities are participating in the CIAP Program along with the utility district and non-profit groups. No date has been set on when the supervisors will make their decision.