OCEAN SPRINGS -- The state Department of Marine Resources is going to tear down and remove the large boat storage shed it owns in Ocean Springs Harbor.
It will not be swapped for land on Back Bay in Biloxi.
Bill Walker, head of the DMR, said Wednesday they couldn't work out the legalities of a land swap so the DMR is preparing a bid package to have the boat shed removed. Walker said removing the shed was the agency's original intent when it bought the property, 1.7 acres that also has a former restaurant, from David Harris almost two years ago for $3.65 million.
He said the idea to swap it for several acres on Back Bay came through the city of Ocean Springs, which was trying to keep the boat storage business viable for the harbor. Steven Carter, owner of the Back Bay property, would have run the storage, which holds 168 boats.
Bruce Duckett, who is part of a neighborhood organization at the harbor opposing the swap, said, "It's great news, but I won't be satisfied until I see the building come down and the property turned over to the county."
The DMR bought the harbor property with federal CIAP money and was recently criticized in a report from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Interior for high land appraisals used for CIAP purchases. The shed and property were on the Jackson County tax rolls for $1.3 million, but were appraised for the purchase at $4 million.