Road work slows down snowbird business

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This season the snowbirds haven't been flocking to the Great Southern Golf Club. Snowbird business is down by 40 percent.

"No golf course on the Gulf Coast can survive without snowbird business. That's pretty devastating to a gulf coast business trying to recover from the hurricane," Great Southern Golf Club Vice President Carl Lizanna said.

Board officials say construction is slowing down the snowbirds' migration to the course.  The city is doing work on the service road that runs along Highway 90, starting from the Biloxi/Gulfport line and running west into Gulfport.

The city of Gulfport and contractors put up signs to help direct golfers to the course.  But, the board's vice president, Carl Lizanna said golfers still run into problems.

"On several occasions, the contractors inadvertently shut the roads down in both directions. You couldn't get in here," Lizanna said.

According to Lizanna, the work has also created headaches for people living in the Southern Circle and Markum Drive community. But the course and neighboring communities could soon get some relief before the end of February.

"They assured us that by the 23rd they would have the service road from the east open.  I don't know if they're going to make it," Lizanna said.

Already burdened by tough economic times, course officials hope the deadline will be met and snowbirds will come flocking back to Great Southern.

As for the final paving, Lizanna said the city told course officials it would not repave until after Easter, once snowbird season has died down.