BB Jennings Park Getting a Facelift

Reported by: Alyssa Meisner
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Updated: 3/24 7:23 pm
Bb Jennings Park is considered one of the most important parks in Pascagoula because it collects storm water from the area that flows into local bayous. The park was falling into disrepair, so the city stepped in to restore the park as a functional and educational cornerstone in the environmental community. The City of Pascagoula started the BB Jennings Park Restoration Project to save the park that is critical to storm water collection in the area. The first phase was to remove invasive species, such as popcorn trees, that were choking out naturally growing plants. Now they are getting ready for the next phase. Jim Blevins, the Mayor of Pascagoula, says, "Our next project is going to be part of our master plan for the parks in Pascagoula. What we're going to do is create a living laboratory, and this consists of a rain garden, restoring native plants, and developing educational signage within that park."

With the popcorn trees gone, native plants are growing around the stream. Unlike popcorn trees, these plants filter storm water before it flows out to Krebs Lake and bayous. Tammy Wisco, Senior Engineer at Allen Engineering & Science, says, "Particularly as we are residents of the Gulf Coast and we're surrounded by bayous and water. That is the water that our habitat lives in, that our fish live in, that we recreate in, and our storm water runoff is extremely important both for us as residents and for cities.” The popcorn trees have been reduced to sticks in the BB Jennings Park. They're an invasive species, so while they look pretty, they disturb the natural habitat for plants and animals. They were removed as the first phase of the restoration project. Wisco also says, "Probably between 60 and 80, so there were a lot of popcorn trees on the site." Marsh grasses and oaks will be planted to encourage beavers, muskrats, raccoons, and rodents to build their homes in the park.

Wisco says they will also put up signs along a walkway to explain the project. Wisco closes, "Several different signs along a walking tour and walking path for the local residents to come in, for the general public from other cities to come in, as well as contractors. There's a lot of exciting things that the city is doing." Pascagoula hopes this project will be a model for other parks in the area. The project was funded by both the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the National Fish and Wildlife Service.


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