Ocean Springs leaders tackling downtown parking problems

Ocean Springs is growing, and so are concerns over parking downtown. But city leaders say relief is in sight.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Ocean Springs is growing. And so are concerns over parking as more people flock to the City of Discovery to see all it has to offer. But city leaders say relief is in sight.

That’s good news for business owner Mitchell Hibbard.

“More parking spots means more people downtown, more opportunities for business,” Hibbard said.

The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen accepted a traffic and parking study earlier this week. A parking garage recommendation was included in the 36-page report. That could mean less hassle for folks dining at Pleasant’s Bar-B-Q.

“It’s something that is much needed,” said Pleasant’s Bar-B-Q owner Michael Pleasant. “I was excited to know that we will be having parking issues addressed and that we will be able to get more people in Ocean Springs.”

City leaders said they have discussed and purchased property for the parking garage. It’s part of a mixed-use public-private partnership located at the the Old Swingster property.

“The parking would be beneficial in a way in which it would alleviate some of the traffic along the street,” Pleasant added.

The study recommended metered parking, specific golf parking, and installing improved wayfinding signage to existing parking areas.

“Metered parking, I’ve been thinking about that,” said Hibbard. “It would blow up down here. This is kind of a little gem, but it’s starting to explode a little bit.”

Other key findings from the observation included Porter and MLK Avenues being underutilized as “gateways” to the downtown area. Several privately owned parking lots that support weekday businesses are also located in areas that are heavily congested on weekends.

“It’s booming down here right now, man,” Hibbard said while smiling. “A ton of people trying to come in. Obviously, the more parking, the more people.”

Read the full 2022 Downtown Ocean Springs Parking Study here: https://bit.ly/3zYdapz

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