DMR okays Bay’s marina

City officials received a critical permit approval Tuesday to build a 208-slip marina and waterfront improvements project on the Bay of St. Louis, between DeMontluzin and Court Streets in Old Town.

The Commission on Marine Resources, of the state Department of Marine Resources, approved construction of the $17.9 million project at a meeting in Biloxi Tuesday morning. The overall project would be funded partially by FEMA, but primarily with federal tax dollars from Community Development Block Grants.

The Commission on Marine Resources consists of five members representing fisheries and related industries. Since its chairman, Vernon Asper, does not vote on issues, the Bay St. Louis project passed on a 4-0 vote.

The project still has other regulatory hurdles to pass before construction can begin. Larry Lewis, an environmental consultant, told the City Council Monday that a state archeologist is still studying the project for potential impact.

In addition, the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Quality must approve the plan, along with FEMA and MEMA, Lewis said.

Project engineer Jason Chiniche, of Brown and Mitchell Engineering, told council members that once all necessary approvals are gained, “it would be February or March of 2011 before we’d be under construction.”

That would lead to a possible completion date in 2013, Chiniche said.

Before marina construction begins, the Army Corps of Engineers must build a new Bay St. Louis seawall in the same area. Construction on that project should begin soon.

J.R. Welsh

The Sea Coast Echo

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