Diamondhead Woman Hopes to Move Potential Sewer Plant to Build Commercial Development

Imagine being in the process of purchasing nearly 80 acres of land for commercial development only to realize a sewer plant was being built right in the middle of it. That’s reality for one Diamondhead woman.
Martha Cole was planning on bringing hotels and shopping centers to Diamondhead to increase revenues for the city, but now she’s worried no one will want to develop on property overlooking a sewer plant. She’s looking to work with the Water and Sewer District to get the plant moved.
Today Stuart Smith presented to the Water and Sewer District on behalf of Martha Cole, who is purchasing 80 acres of land for commercial development, but recently learned those future businesses, will have an “ill-fitted” neighbor: a new sewer facility Smith says will hurt potential business.
The $36 million project funded by FEMA has been in the works since 2007, but still no construction contract has been awarded. According to the district, it is too far along for them to quit. Shane Finley, board commissioner of Diamondhead Water and Sewer District, said, “It’s just too late. There’s just too much that’s happened. The risk to the district, to the people of Diamondhead, the rate payers is too great at this point.”
But developers want to know why this location was selected for the plant in the first place. The new facility will have the exact same capacity as the existing plant, which built in the early 1990s. Smith requested a feasibility study to be done to see hard numbers on how much the district would lose by movie to site, or even potentially save.
Another suggestion included the board going directly to FEMA to discuss the contract to see if there is anything that can be done about funding.
The district did express a willingness to work unilaterally with the city and Cole Construction to conduct a feasibility study, but there are no plans to stop progression on the sewer plant.

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