OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Ocean Springs could soon be seeing a lot more parking in the downtown area. One of the final 12 projects the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund Advisory Board is recommending to the state legislature is a parking structure on Government Street.
Longtime residents know the location as the old Swingster property. In a joint partnership with OHOS Land, LLC., the city of Ocean Springs wants to develop the 2.1 acre empty lot on Government Street into a multi-use property by adding residential living, retail spaces, a boutique hotel.
Ocean Springs Alderman Rickey Authement says Gulf Coast Restoration funds will be used to build a 305-space parking garage. Many residents and business owners agree that parking is sorely needed downtown.
“Most of the local homeowners around here they have the no parking signs in front of their houses, and especially Fridays and Saturdays, it’s very busy down here,” said Wild Flier employee Hollis McKinley. “All the locals and a lot of out of towners come down here, be festive, go to the bars, eat a little bit of food.”
Working in downtown Ocean Springs, McKinley is very familiar with the scarce parking, and believes a parking garage will draw in more visitors to local shops.
“It definitely would because it’s very limited parking around here and I think the parking garage will bring in more people,” said McKinley. “They won’t have to walk so far to get to the downtown area.”
With holiday shopping ramping up, finding a parking spot near stores can be challenging. That’s why Ocean Springs native Hannah Hart is in favor of adding the parking garage.
“I definitely feel there’s a need for the additional structure especially since we have so many tourists that come every weekend to shop, especially for the holidays,” said Hart. “I think it would be a great asset to downtown Ocean Springs.”
OHOS Land, LLC. hopes to have renderings of the design for the development within in the next few months. If the state legislature approves the use of Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for the parking garage, construction is expected to start in July 2021.