Improvements in the works at Popp’s Ferry, docking facilities

The City of Biloxi is reviving a plan to improve public access along the Popp’s Ferry causeway, a project that was showing dramatic progress when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Mayor A.J. Holloway this evening will ask the City Council to approve a $700,000 project that will see the construction of an 11-foot-wide concrete promenade that will run 1,400-foot, between the small bridge on the causeway roadway and the boat ramps, along the western side of what the city envisions as Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park.

The promenade will be lit for nighttime fishing and will offer benches for viewing sunsets. Work is expected to begin in September and be completed in December.

Meantime, on the east side of the causeway park, the area that overlooks the saltwater marsh, work has begun to repair a 400-foot section of boardwalk that loops over the marsh. The boardwalk had been completed weeks before Katrina. The tidal surge and winds of Katrina destroyed the section closest to land, rendering large sections of the boardwalk inaccessible. The $128,000 project, funded with FEMA money, is expected to be completed by November.

The city has asked Supervisor Connie Rockco to pave the Popp’s Ferry Causeway access road as part of the project.

The city had purchased the 10-acre causeway site in 2000 for $650,000, with the idea to preserve the area as a public park that would include fishing and crabbing piers, upgraded boat ramps, walking trails, boardwalks and a covered pavilion.

Said Mayor A.J. Holloway: “Hurricane Katrina was a setback for many of the plans for the causeway, but we’re looking to revive aspects of the plan, and we’ll do more as funding becomes available. The good news is that people will be able to enjoy this promenade and the repaired boardwalk in just a few months.”

The Popp’s Ferry work is one of three waterfront projects in the offing. The other two:

— At the Commercial Docking Facility, just west of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, the city expects to begin demolition and reconstruction in September with work on the $2.4 million project expected to be completed in March. The piers, and electrical water systems at the dock will be replaced, and about 16,000 cubic yards of dredging will be done.

— At the Lighthouse Docking Facility, which is at the north end of Lee Street on Back Bay, the city also will spend $2.4 million in FEMA funds to reconstruct piers, a steel bulkhead, and electrical and water systems. Work is scheduled to begin in September and be completed in March.

While work is underway at the commercial dock, the city will temporarily re-locate shrimping vessels to slips that it has been holding at Point Cadet Marina and the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Boats at the Back Bay dock will be shifted to avoid work areas.

Water service to lead to new homes in Woolmarket community

A new subdivision planned for the Woolmarket community will be one of the first to take advantage of new city water service to be installed along Woolmarket Road.

The City Council this evening will be asked to approve a proposed 60-lot subdivision that will be built on 26.5 acres of land west and south of John Lee Road at Wash Fayard Road.

In the next couple of months, the city will begin the six-month process of installing a new water line along Woolmarket Road, and Jim Holt of Dennis Stieffel and Associates, the firm designing the subdivision, said work on the homes ought to be underway at the same time.

The site, which is currently owned by Sidney Mize Scarborough, will feature lots that actually exceed the 10,000-square-foot size requirement.

“These homes are going to be from $180,000 to $250,000 homes,” Holt said. “The actual square footage of the lots will be at the required 80-foot width, but we’re actually making them deeper than required because the builder, Breland Homes, says they can deliver a much nicer home in that configuration.”

Added Holt: “Right now, we’re getting all of the approvals in place, so when the city cranks up work on the water line, we’ll be ready to go. The builders are chomping at the bit right now.”

See the agenda for yourself

To read the agenda and supporting documents for the City Council meeting this evening — 6 o’clock at City Hall — click here.