More concrete swales coming to Ocean Springs despite residents asking to halt the project

More concrete swales coming to Ocean Springs, despite residents' concerns

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Front Beach in Ocean Springs will soon see more construction of concrete swales, despite some residents expressing their concern to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.

On Monday, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors signed a contract with DcD Construction to build additional concrete swales across roughly 60% of Front Beach.

However, Mike Illanne and other Front Beach residents took turns voicing their concerns about the project at the supervisors’ meeting Monday morning.

“I and several other folks were here to request that the county pause that project so that we can have a broader discussion about the many issues we have on Front Beach that need to be fixed,” Illanne said.

One of the issues some residents have is the appearance of the concrete swales. Jackson County Supervisor Troy Ross believes the county must first focus on solving the erosion problem and then cosmetics.

“This is a man-made beach. We’re always going to find erosion. What we’ve got to do is mitigate as much of it as we can so that we can actually capture it and fix the problems so we’ll cut down on maintenance cost long term,” Ross said. “This was designed over about a year-long process. So engineers came out and studied where the water ran and so this is a scientific thing. Trust the science and this project will work.”

The concrete swales channel runoff water into drains, which then funnels out into open water. The objective is to prevent erosion of Front Beach, but not all residents agree with the design. Illanne feels a broader approach could be taken to address multiple issues on Front Beach.

“I think approaching Southern Mississippi or Mississippi State’s coastal sustainability programs, for example, to look at broader solutions associated with water quality, seaward based, and storm erosion,” Illanne said.

Ross estimates the project will take six to nine months to complete and said the estimated $1.3 million for the project is from GOMESA funding.

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