Ocean Springs Residents Concerned About Lack of Sidewalks

Thursday night, Jackson County Supervisor, John McKay, held a town hall meeting at the Elks Lodge in Ocean Springs. One topic discussed was a public hearing on the proposed sidewalk along Beachview Drive.

Charles Larry Keenum has lived along Beachview Drive in Ocean Springs for 32 years, and loves to walk around his neighborhood, but he says an afternoon stroll can be dangerous. Keenum says, “I walked all the way to the marina one time and I go down the ditches and come back up and all that.”

That’s because there are currently no sidewalks to keep pedestrians out of traffic. McKay also says, “There’s a lot, a lot of children that walk up and down these roads and adults walking up and down Beachview Drive and the only place you got to avoid a car is jump in a ditch.”

Relief may soon be in sight. Jackson County has received funding to explore installing sidewalks throughout the streets of Gulf Park Estates. Keenum says, “I think it should have been done years ago. A while ago, there was a girl walking down on the street, I’m surprised, she had a radio on. She was walking down the street. She wasn’t in a ditch either. Cars were going around her.”

The proposed sidewalks would run along Beachview Drive and the adjacent street, Blueberry Drive. Supervisor McKay says not only is this safer for the everyday pedestrian, but it also provides children walking to and from school a safer route to travel. McKay says, “And so it’s vital that we get some sidewalks put along here before someone gets killed.”

If there’s enough community support, the county will work with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to install sidewalks. The entire project would cost a few million dollars and would take a couple of years to complete, but concerned citizens like Keenum are glad the county is addressing a long-time need for safer travel for both drivers and pedestrians.

Keenum closes, “I would say 95% of people would definitely want sidewalks.”

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