Ocean Springs Harbor Boat Launch to Close for Six Months

A lot of people in South Mississippi make their living off the water. Some who live and work in Ocean Springs are worried that a land project now underway may sink their profits.
News 25’s Bryan Kennedy spoke with some fishermen and local businessmen who shared their concerns over construction on the Harbor Road project along Front Beach.
Shrimper Bobby Wilson sits back as a few of his workers and neighboring shrimpers sort through this morning’s catch on his boat, the Miss Kimberly 2. While today’s catch is decent, he’s looking further down the road as a six month long construction project gets underway to improve Harbor Road, the main street leading to his business selling shrimp at the dock. “See all these cars over here, they don’t belong to us anyhow,” said Wilson, “That’s people working here. It’s going to be worse down yonder. But yeah, when they close it, it’s going to hurt the devil out of us.”
While it may temporarily hurt fishermen, city leaders hope it fixes a long running problem. Nine hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars of tidelands funds is earmarked to fix the dilapidated road and make more room for people launching their boats, as well as those who walk, run and bike along this stretch of road. Ocean Springs Planning and Grants Administrator Carolyn Martin said, “It will actually create a safe travel pass for each of those modes of transportation. And fix the road and fix the launch and really just make the area a much nicer destination.”
The boat ramp will also be shut down during construction. While the overall picture is to improve the area, nearby businesses aren’t as welcoming about the change, at least not right now. Kenny Dinero owns the Ocean Springs Marine Mart and he says the construction couldn’t come at a worse time. “Trout starts to come in October, November. Those are probably two of the better months for trout. When they close the ramp up that means that nobody launches which means nobody will buy the bait here.”
While this construction will likely limit the amount of customers that will be able to come down to the docks, the fishermen and the owners of the bait shop say they’re not going anywhere. “We are open and we’re going to be open while the construction goes on as long as we possibly can,” said Dinero.
City leaders tell News 25 they hope to wrap up construction earlier than the scheduled six months.
The city plans to install traffic signs to help motorists, pedestrians and cyclists navigate the area until that work is complete.

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