Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park still on hold

To the casual observer, it may look like it’s complete and ready for visitors, but the Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park won’t be opening for another month.

Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard reports that the city and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality want marsh grass to mature before the public is allowed into the area, “and we’re hoping that it will be before Labor Day.”

The high-profile project, just off the Popp’s Ferry Bridge, where 20,000 vehicles pass on an average day, will include a new bait shop and kayak rentals, an open-air interpretive center that will host gatherings, and a host of waterside railed walkways, covered fishing kiosks and marsh overlooks.

The project was funded through a $4.2 million grant that Gov. Phil Bryant steered through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

The city has had designs on the 10-acre site for more than 30 years, dating back to when then-Mayor Gerald Blessey had the city buy a sliver of waterfront land as part of the city’s award-winning waterfront master plan. Years later, Mayor A.J. Holloway oversaw the city’s purchase of the remainder of the 10-acre site, and the city envisioned increased use of the site but didn’t have the money for wholesale improvements, until Gov. Bryant steered BP money to the project.

“This is an environmentally sensitive area,” Leonard said. ‘We know a lot of people have watched the progress and are anxious to enjoy it. We’re anxious, too. We’ve awarded a contract for a firm to manage the bait shop and kayak rentals, and they are in the process of moving in. We’ve also taken steps to make this a leisure zone, which allows adult beverages and food service in the area, and a decorative gate is planned.”

Added Leonard: “The fact is, this project has been in the works for more than 30 years, and we’re hoping the public can be patient for another 30 days or so. Let’s let the marsh grass and other natural plantings mature.”
Video: Take a tour of the park today
Video: An aerial tour from November 2017
Gallery: Progress at September 2017