BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The new West Biloxi Boardwalk extension has been complete since November. Next week, county and city officials will celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. However, phase 2 of the project isn’t finished yet. The next step will be something that hasn’t happened in more than two decades.
On busy weekends, the front beach public boat ramps are crowded. Sometimes it’s so crowded that many times, people have to wait to get their boats in the water, or even out of the water.
“Yeah, around Memorial Day, Fourth of July or some of the major holidays, the slips here are all full,” said Steven Denson, who visits about twice a month from the Jackson area. “It’s hard to get in and out of, so, having another place to launch would be great. Kind of avoid the crowds.”
Boaters have been asking, and Harrison County Board of Supervisors president Beverly Martin has been listening.
“It’s the No. 1 request that I’ve gotten in the five years I’ve been in office. The request for more public boat launches here to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Martin. “We have them in the backwaters, you know, in the Back Bay and the waters leading out to the Gulf but we haven’t had a new public boat launch, especially here on the peninsula, in 24 years.”
As part of the Phase 2 West Biloxi Boardwalk project between Harrison County and Biloxi, a boat launch will be built at the south end of Camellia Street. It will cost about $3 million through Tidelands funds.
The launch will utilize a jetty already built by Treasure Bay Casino, and the new jetty will be placed to the east, right at the end of the boardwalk.
Kasey Ford and her family, who live near Hattiesburg, usually put their boat in the water from the ramp near the Schooner Pier Complex. She likes the idea of a boat launch next to a boardwalk connecting to shops and restaurants.
“It definitely would be a great chance because you wouldn’t have to drive as much especially considering sometimes the roads are busy especially on the weekends,” said Ford.
Steven Denson launches his boat mostly from the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, and the location for the new ramp would be good for a lot of reasons.
“It would be a nice place, yes, because it’s kind of right in the middle between the islands,” said Denson. “If you’re down in that area, you can kind of split the difference and go to either Cat or Horn and be right in the middle. It’s not so far driving the boat either.”
The ribbon cutting for the West Biloxi Boardwalk Phase 2 project will be 4 p.m. Wednesday.