OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The city coffers in Ocean Springs are richer to the tune of $900,000 dollars. The city received the money from the state when the legislature passed the infrastructure improvement bill this past session. Now, the money will be used to improve water and sewer systems in the city of discovery.
It happens a lot these days in Ocean Springs. Public works employees repairing a sewer main. The extra money will speed the process along, according to mayor Shea Dobson. “What we’re doing is taking the worst of it, a lot of it is in downtown because that’s part of the oldest part of the city and we just have a list of priorities.”
The city isn’t stopping at 900,000 dollars. Dobson hopes to parlay that into something bigger. “What were working on right now is potentially leveraging that with some other funds so we’re talking to some state and federal representatives to see what we can get going.”
Water is an essential ingredient for restaurants and other businesses. That’s the word from the Chamber director Cynthia Sutton. “We’re a tourist destination so be able to provide just that comfort of clean water, fresh water, clean pipes is very important to the community and it just goes hand in hand of what we do of just thriving in Ocean Springs.”
For years, workers with the city's public works department have been putting band-aids on these water and sewer infrastructure problems. This new infusion of cash is good news because frankly, the system is very old, according to public works director John Russell. “Well, we need to get rid of the asbestos that we've got in the city at this time. We've also got cast iron lines that are deteriorating. They've been here since probably the city was built and these structures have to be removed or replaced with the new PVC.”
That’s critical, because Dobson feels that water and sewer stand alone. “It’s not really a luxury or anything, it’s a necessity. So having a plan in place and making sure you’re looking at the state of the infrastructure is very important.”
City leaders are currently in the process of hiring an engineering firm to come up with definitive plans for the upgrades. They hope to have the work underway in the next few months.