New Plans For South Mississippi Beaches

By February, Sand Beach Authority crews will begin replenishing some 800,000 cubic yards of sand. But an even larger project is waiting in the wings -- a new boardwalk.

"And it's the intent to go back with a concrete structure, repair the boardwalk with a concrete structure," says Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver.

However, plans for the more durable concrete boardwalk, hinge on cost.

Weaver says, "We believe we'll be able to do the concrete for what the repair would have been for the timber structure with only a minimal amount of increase, which would be covered by mitigating funds through the federal government."

If all is approved, Weaver estimates work on the new boardwalk would begin this summer. That's about the same time Coast Transit Authority hopes to begin rebuilding the seven comfort stations along the beach.

CTA Director Kevin Coggin explains, "This has given us the opportunity, like a lot of people, to build back better than we did before and that's the approach we're taking, and we want to come up with a much more attractive, more user friendly, much more storm resistant facility."

Concept designs show ground level, concrete buildings with a Floridian flare. Coggin feels the design would compliment one of south Mississippi's major attractions. "We understand how important it is to have those facilities built back, how important it is to re-establish the tourism industry and we want people to be able to access our beautiful beaches," says Coggin.

Which is why both the Coast Transit and Sand Beach Authorities are anxiously awaiting approval for these projects from the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.

The Coast Transit Authority is waiting on a variance, to build at ground level, as opposed to recommended base flood elevations. It plans to begin cleaning up the remains of the old comfort stations in March.

The Sand Beach Authority says it's waiting to see what form the new boardwalk will take before removing the tangled pieces that remain.