Residents want more water access for Pascagoula’s beach

By LEIGH COLEMAN – Special to the Sun Herald


Beachgoers will likely have to wait until next week to hear the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision about how much water access will be left after riprap and other materials are added to protect the shoreline.

City leaders held a public hearing Thursday night to hear comments about the $12 million project that began in September.

Residents have been using the 7,700 feet of new sand beach for walking, swimming and recreational activities.

But Dr. Susan Rees, the corps’ manager of Mississippi Coastal Improvements, said the project was never planned for play and recreation.

It is one of 15 projects the corps took on after Hurricane Katrina destroyed Coast beaches in 2005, she said.

“This plan has been in place to combat erosion since Day 1,” Rees said.

The corps had planned only four 50-foot and 100-foot access paths to the water.

Residents and leaders say they want more room on the beach, and water access.

After some negotiations with city leaders, corps leaders said they would re-evaluate the plan.

Rees said it could be possible to increase the size of the pathways to the water.

“People have a false sense of security about the new beach by thinking it is stable right now,” said Mike McKown of the corps. “This beach is not like the one in Harrison County. The environmental conditions are vastly different and the elevation is lower here. We have to add the protective riprap now or there will be a mess down there.”

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