Since the new Popp's Ferry bridge was built, locals have used the old causeway to fish, shrimp, launch boats, walk, jog, and ride bikes. That prompted the city to purchase the 10 acre site back in 2000.
Tuesday, the city's Parks and Recreation department unveiled its plan for a new "Popp's Ferry Causeway Park." It includes a new boardwalk, fishing piers, more parking, concession stands, and an education center.
The causeway site is surrounded completely by water, mostly brackish water marshes and one upland area. There are two existing structures, a boat launch and a dilapidated pier. One person said the water is great for personal water craft.
"It's warm, it's calm, it's deep, it's fun," Wallace Wheatley said.
Engineers for the project took time explaining the details to the council. Many of the plan components came from community input.
"More fishing space, improvements to the boat docks, picnic areas, boardwalks over the marsh areas," master plan engineer Carlos Cashio said.
"Now we have an opportunity to move ahead and create something really exciting for the citizens of Biloxi that is both utilitarian in nature, that we will make better some of those things that take place there now like fishing and boating, but also to provide things that are unique to this area," Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Sullivan said.
Moving ahead means tearing up portions of the untouched land for new parking spaces, more lights, rest rooms, a security gate, and more buildings. Leaders say this is what the people want.
"We have the drawings, the conceptual, we're waiting for the engineering, we've had soil testing and some other engineering preliminaries, and it's time to move ahead. The people need it, they want it, and they deserve it," Harrison County District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco said.
Looking around the causeway, time has definitely taken it's toll, but one local fisherman says that the natural, left alone state, is the way he likes it.
"I wouldn't tear up all this here, cause this is nature. It would be a waste to see them come in here and start tearing up all mother nature and putting down concrete and hot pavement," Don Kuhl said.
Don Kuhl fishes near the causeway four times a week. He says it's one of the few areas left in Biloxi where you can enjoy a peaceful afternoon away from civilization.
The city hopes to keep that peaceful feeling, while adding a few modern conveniences .
After hearing the proposal, the city decided to table the motion to go ahead with the project. The council is expected to vote on it at their next meeting on September 10th.