Long-awaited Point Cadet Marina restoration finally underway

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The scenery has changed dramatically at Biloxi's Point Cadet Marina. The roar of boat engines has been replaced by the sounds of construction. And the only boating activity is two workers rowing from one pier to the next.

Crews have been hard at work since the week before Thanksgiving, trying to rebuild what Katrina tore apart.

"It came in and destroyed all the utilities on this property," said Biloxi Port Manager Frankie Duggan. "We had no water, no electricity afterwards. Of course, it silted a bunch of it in."

The $7.3 million reconstruction project calls for stripping and replacing all the ruined electrical wiring and water lines. Crews are also dredging the harbor about nine-feet deep, relocating the fuel dock, and rebuilding the damaged piers.

Biloxi Port Manager Frankie Duggan explains why it took so long to get the project started.

"A lot of it had to go through red tape with FEMA," said Duggan. "Because they're paying for the whole project and wanted to make sure it was right."

The marina has been housing about 180 vessels. It has the capacity of 287. Most of the boats have been relocated to the Small Craft Harbor, which is also undergoing repairs. Some boats are still docked at the Point Cadet Marina, but they'll have to be shuffled around as the construction progresses.

"I know there's going to be some inconvenience still, but we have to be able to move boats to get the job done," said Duggan. "I'm still trying to find places to put those boats as I move them."

Duggan says the inconvenience and wait will be worth it.

"All the people that have boats here are real excited about it," said Duggan. "They can get their home back up again. Most of them consider this their home. They love it down here."

The marina renovations are expected to be finished by the end of June or July of 2009.