Popp’s Ferry causeway proposals unveiled

The Popp’s Ferry causeway will be home to new fishing piers, improved boat ramps and parking, and boardwalks along the waterfront and over marshes in the initial phase of a master plan unveiled this week.

Some work on the first phase, which would cost about $1 million, could begin in several weeks, with Harrison County crews clearing land and performing some paving work. More detailed work in Phase I, such as constructing boardwalks and making improvements to existing boat ramps, would begin in several months.

The first phase of the project would be a joint effort of the city and Harrison County, aided by funds from state and federal grants. However, funding for future phases of the four-phase proposal, including a million-dollar interpretive center, was uncertain when the plan was unveiled Tuesday to the City Council.

The city purchased the 10-acre site west of the current Popp’s Ferry bridge in 2000 for $650,000. Since that time, public meetings have been held for citizens to suggest ideas for the best uses of the waterfront land, and the city subsequently hired employed a design firm — Cashio, Cochran of New Orleans, which specializes in outdoor waterfront design — to create a master plan, which was unveiled Tuesday.

Councilmembers questioned some aspects of the proposal, including the inclusion of the 5,000-square-foot interpretive center, which helped drive the total price tag of the project to more than $4 million.

“I think the consensus was that we begin work as soon as possible on the first phases of the project,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, who viewed the presentation with Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rockco. “The first phases are going to make this area much more accessible and inviting, not just for boaters and fishermen, but for everybody.”

Holloway will now ask the City Council to authorize a contract for Cashio, Cochran to draft construction specifications and bid packages for key components of Phases I and II. Improvements would include fishing piers, concrete boardwalks along the waterfront, wooden boardwalks over marsh areas, paved of parking areas and roadway, and upgraded piers at the boat ramp area.

Construction is expected to cost around $1 million, which could be lowered depending on the amount of work done by county crews.

To see the artist’s renderings of the park, click here.