OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Runners, joggers and other residents in Ocean Springs have complained about the lack of lighting along Front Beach for years, but city leaders say they could be close to a solution.
Back in 2017, Hurricane Nate damaged several lights along the walking path, causing dark spots in areas often used for exercise or gatherings in the evenings or early mornings. It’s still an issue today.
“[I keep] wondering why it hasn’t come on, because it used to be on. But I don’t know why,” Brandon Graham said.
Ward 2 Alderman Rickey Authement says the issue is caused by rising water levels damaging the wiring inside the poles. City crews do their best to repair them when they need to be fixed, but there is still a concern about safety when the sun goes down.
Maya Krumland said, “Yeah it’s not safe. I don’t want it to be pitch black when you’re walking down the beach.”
The problem also impacts families and friend groups trying to enjoy the final days of summer.
“If the lights still don’t come on, we might have a little bit of trouble getting to be with each other and getting to hang out after we’ve been on such a long break due to COVID-19,” Teagan Doychak said.
City leaders say they understand how important it is to keep Front Beach lit. But they say a solution could take time and come with a hefty price tag at around $338,000.
Authement said, “We are actually in the process of filing an appeal with FEMA to try and get some federal relief. So we don’t have to burden the tax payers.”
However, the whole process is a waiting game unless another solution could be found.
“An appeal can take up to two years. So the city is going to have to look at other alternatives to get it done now and then seek reimbursement,” Authement said.
The Board of Aldermen will talk about finding a quicker solution to the lighting issue at their next meeting on August 18.