Ocean Springs Planning To Tackle Front Beach Projects

"You'll be able to go crabbing on the pier, have restroom facilities and a picnic playground area, and enjoy an afternoon concert," Mayor Connie Moran said.

Mayor Moran is looking past the scars Katrina left on Front Beach in Ocean Springs, to what she says, is a not-so-distant future.

"I see Fort Maurepas being one of the premier beach front parks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Moran said.

From new lighting to updated landscaping, Moran hopes to restore aspects of the beach front that residents loved, and rework the parts that need improvement.

The city also plans to move the walkway from the road, to south of the seawall. Not only would it give bikers and walkers more space, it would also be safer and make the entire beach front more accessible.

"This new walkway would connect the pedestrian pathway from the bridge, all the way around the harbor, and hopefully we can then connect that with Shearwater Bridge and East Beach," Moran said.

District Four Supervisor Tommy Broadnax wasn't ready to buy into the plan just yet. He wants to make sure local contractors have a role in the rebuilding.

"You know it's easy to contract something out and just pay for it, but it's also more frugal to utilize the services of the people you already have," Broadnax said.

Though a California design group is currently steering the project, Moran says locals will have a shot at getting involved, and the payoff from a revitalized beach front could make waves in this city's future.

The public will have a chance to provide input to the beach front developers also. On February 11th, the California design team will visit Ocean Springs for a "kick-off" to the planning. And the group will be back again the week of March 10th, to work on Front Beach and downtown charettes.

By Keli Rabon