Harrison Co. Supervisors Adopt Sand Beach Plans

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Harrison County supervisors adopted a Sand Beach Master Plan at their meeting Monday morning.

"The beach is fantastic. We love it. But we want to elevate it and become even more of a premier destination that contributes to the tourism of the gulf coast," said Dr. Jennifer Cowley, who helped create the master plan.

Dr. Cowley is from The Ohio State University. She shared the long term vision for the beach with county supervisors.

"In terms of premier amenities, we looked at things like landscaping, signage, furniture, pavilions. Things along those lines," she explained.

The boardwalk along the seawall will be replaced with a FEMA funded concrete walkway. Long term plans include new pathways meandering through and across the sand.

"Creating a recreational path that would connect in with the boardwalk, but would be at beach level where the boardwalk is not present," said Dr. Cowley.

Plans to improve parking and access got an enthusiastic endorsement from one supervisor.

"I had three children in five years. So, try and get out on Highway 90. And if you did park on the side, you had to worry about being run over by traffic. And so, if we have accessibility to the beach, it will be more conducive not only to tourists, but to the local residents who live there," said District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco.

Sand dunes and culverts are also covered by the plan.

"Putting in place those sand dunes to help protect from wind erosion. It looks at culverts and potential alternatives for the culverts to make those safer," Dr. Cowley explained.

Many consider the 26 miles of beach Harrison County's greatest asset.

"We want to make sure that we continue to enhance that. That we continue to build on our assets and show off to the rest of America what beautiful sand beaches we have here in South Mississippi and the quality that we have here in South Mississippi," said Supervisor Windy Swetman.

Many of the proposed improvements will be paid for with grant money.

A separate dune project is already in the works. That work will be funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.