Residents speak out against Waveland marina

A proposed marina at the foot of Coleman Avenue was the topic of discussion at a public hearing last Tuesday evening at the Waveland Civic Center.

The hearing was hosted by the Department of Marine Resources.

DMR and engineers gave a brief presentation on the marina and opened the floor from comments.

The city has applied for about $6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the marina project.

It will also use Tidelands Funds to subsidize the construction, which is planned to be done in phases, officials said.

Mickey Lagasse of Compton Engineering said the marina will be a benefit to the city.

“The marina will complement the recently completed Garfield Ladner Pier,” Lagasse said. “We are hoping with the money we have to be able to build the marina and maintain it without excess costs.”

Unlike the proposed harbor project in Bay St. Louis, Lagasse said planners are not seeking to build a massive marina.

“The size was determined by need,” he said.

He said plans call for 68 boat slips, not 102, which was listed in DMR’s notice about the hearing.

Plans call for the marina to be located just south of the Veteran’s Memorial on Coleman Avenue, west of the Garfield Ladner Pier.

The city has applied for about $6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the marina project.

It will also use Tidelands Funds to subsidize the construction, which is planned to be done in phases, officials said.

Compton is the engineering firm which is working on the project for the city. The first phase will consist of constructing a 600-foot road which will run north and east of the Garfield Ladner Pier, officials said.

After another 400 feet of road, it will turn for another 175 feet until it joins a circular formation which will house a pavilion, picnic area, lighthouse and double boat launch.

The latest plans include a sheltered basin with a flow-through bulkhead, piers, decks, walkways, a lighthouse, a 68-space parking area, picnic area, wastewater pump station, fueling station, and pedestrian walkway.
Lagasse said the boat slips may possibly be floating docks and the marina is designed to flood in the event of a storm.

Floating docks could be quickly removed if a storm is looming, he said.

“We want it to go underwater instead of breaking loose,” he said. “We are proposing floating docks if the money is in the budget.”

The idea of floating docks not being removed was one of the concerns raised by several residents in attendance.

“They are going to float up over the seven-foot walls and then we’re looking at docks and boats coming onshore,” Henry McGee said.

Susan McGee said she was concerned about the costs of maintaining the marina.

“It’s going to be an albatross around our neck,” she said. “I don’t think there are 68 boats around here. It’s either going to be people who live here and are still trying to rebuild, or people who live in New Orleans. I just don’t think we can afford it.”

Ivy Cramer said the city should rebuild its infrastructure before building a marina.

“First, we have to have a city,” she said. “What are these people going to come here for. We don’t even have streets. Everything is on the highway.”

Lagasse said the marina is going to be more than a stop for fishermen.

He said the city plans to build 2,500 square-foot pavilion and a gated playground area at the site.

“It’s going to be family-oriented,” he said.

He said the city has reserved eight of the slips for commercial charter fishermen.

Kevin Jordan said the marina is not what the community wants.

“It is a dream of some, but not the people of Waveland,” he said.

Brenda McComb echoed Jordan’s comments.

“This project is for a very small group of people,” she said. “I don’t see how it can be self-supporting.”

DMR will take all of the comments into consideration before issuing a wetlands permit for the city to begin work on the project.

The city must also obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if it plans on dredging any of the shoreline.

The board of aldermen has yet to ask for a release of funds on the project.

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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