Editorials

Harrison County makes the right call on the beach

To improve South Mississippi’s clout as a tourist destination, we must have a good-looking beach. Harrison County took steps Monday to begin a $3 million beach renourishment project.
To improve South Mississippi’s clout as a tourist destination, we must have a good-looking beach. Harrison County took steps Monday to begin a $3 million beach renourishment project. Sun Herald File

If you walk into the tourist shops that line U.S. 90, you’ll likely see a shirt that says “Biloxi Beach.”

Beach is the key word here. It’s just as synonymous with South Mississippi as seafood or casinos.

And that’s why we give a hat tip to the Harrison County supervisors, who took the first step Monday toward repairing several sections of eroded beach.

If we want to grow our clout as a tourist destination, we must have a good-looking beach.

The project will require about 200,000 cubic yards of sand and cost between $3 million and $3.5 million, officials said Monday. “It’s getting to the point where it’s encroaching on our seawall,” said Chuck Loftis, director of the Sand Beach Authority. “It’s been about 10 years since we had a renourishment.”

Though portions of Biloxi are part of the project, the longest stretch of beach that needs to be replenished is between Cowan and Tegarden roads in Gulfport. The most severely damaged portion is at Coffee Creek near Hewes Avenue in Gulfport, where water can lap over the seawall.

Other trouble spots are at Henderson Avenue in Pass Christian; Pitcher Point in Long Beach; Jeff Davis Avenue, just west of Long Beach Harbor; Broad Avenue in Gulfport; just west of the old Broadwater property in Biloxi; and Chalmers Drive in Biloxi.

We’re a little unhappy about how long it will take to get things moving.

Supervisors were told Monday it will take about six months to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Bids won’t be taken until fall. That’s way too long, in our opinion.

But we are encouraged that supervisors saw this coming on the financial end.

“We have almost $400,000 set aside in the beach renourishment fund and we also have, right now, $5.5 million in the sand beach fund,” county Comptroller Jennifer Bell said. County Administrator Pamela Ulrich said the county could also still borrow money for the project.

We’re OK with that if supervisors decide that’s the prudent move. The important thing, and we think supervisors get it, is keeping our beach as pristine as possible. After all, it’s good for business.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

  Comments