Federal government paying to widen sand beach in Pascagoula

Published 5:59 pm Friday, November 23, 2007

Pascagoula is about to get a wider sand beach designed to give homes better protection from hurricanes.

Uncle Sam is footing the bill.

City leaders this week approved a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to expand the Pascagoula beach. The work is part of a $7.3 million federal restoration project.

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Harrietta Eaton, the city director of administration, said Pascagoula’s beach project was one of 15 approved at the federal level, and one of the earliest ones that city leaders pitched during a trip to Washington after Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005.

“We’re proud of it,” she said.

The project in the hometown of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., calls for the corps to construct a sand beach about 150 feet wide stretching west from the present beach.

Main elements of the work include flood, hurricane and storm debris damage reduction features and restoring the ecosystem.

Repairing the existing seawall with concrete walls of the drainage channel, replacing that channel’s right extension wall cap and restoring the sand beach that will have vegetated dunes and sand fencing installed is planned.

City Manager Kay Kell said the project won’t cost the city anything. Kell said work could begin in January.

There are separate plans to build a $1 million beach promenade that will stretch from the Pascagoula Riverfront to the newly constructed sand beach.

Councilman-at-large Bill Jones said some beachfront homeowners might oppose the new construction because of the beach would expand farther out into the Mississippi Sound. He said some people believe they own a section of the water in front of their homes for the placement of fishing piers.

Lott’s beachfront home was among those destroyed by Katrina.