Lake Mars Pier area expanding into recreational complex

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Fishing off Lake Mars Pier is a big part of life for Luke Hyzny.  When Gustav damaged the newly-rebuilt pier back in September, it was more than an incovenience for him.

"It kinda broke my heart a little bit to see it all kinda destroyed, especially after they'd just fixed it," Hyzny said. "It was a disappointment but hopefully they'll fix it up real good."

He's not the only one hoping. Even though parts of it are in disrepair, the pier attracts crowds every weekend. The county is in the final stages of planning to rebuild what Gustav took away. Some of those improvements will be taken care of immediately and some are still in the works.

The county isn't just rebuilding the pier this time around. Instead, they are taking entire area and turning it into a recreational complex.

Construction of two new boat launches next to the pier is underway. The seven hundred thousand dollar project will provide a straight shot to some of the most popular places on the water. The county will pay half the cost from its annual budget, and the other half comes from various grants and other funds.

"Oh that'll be great, to go on out to the islands and stuff, save a long trip around," said Hyzny.

"It's really going to be a major asset to Jackson County to have this launching ramp, because it's going to knock off at least a 30 minute run to reach this fishing spot out here," said Randy Royster.

"Once the boat launches are finished, this is probably going to be the most popular place to launch a boat in Jackson County," said District 5 Supervisor John McKay.

The new project isn't just for boaters.

"One thing we're going to do about the jetties, we're going to level off the top of them so you can actually walk out there on them," McKay said.  "It will be great because they wont be all broken up with rocks on them. You'll actually be able to use them as another fishing pier."

"It's gonna be nice when they get it all done," said Royster.

The boat launches should be ready for use by spring, and the pier will be completely repaired before the end of this year.