Preliminary site work and the delivery of materials and equipment has begun on the Popp’s Ferry causeway, and over the next 12 months visitors to the area and motorists on the Popp’s Ferry bridge will see a 30-year-old idea becoming a reality: Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park.
The project will include a bait shop and kayak launches, an open-air interpretive center, and nature trails through botanical gardens, featuring kiosks that explain native plants.
“This is an outstanding project that drives home the importance and beauty of our waterfront,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said.
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Gov.
Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for recognizing the significance of this project and steering BP money our way.” For Biloxi, it’s a project that has been more than three decades in the making.
It was in 1986, with the drafting of the Biloxi Waterfront Master Plan, that the city unveiled concepts to create walking trails and shoreline fishing spots for the site, a narrow sliver of land west of the Popp’s Ferry Bridge.
In additional to upgrading existing boat ramps, plans called for constructing an waterfront boardwalk, a bait shop, an open-air pavilion, where exhibits would describe the native plants and wildlife found in the Popp’s Ferry marsh, as well as a botanical garden.
The work would be on the west side of the existing Popp’s Ferry bridge, while a proposed new Popp’s Ferry highrise would be on the east side of the existing bridge.
The city constructed a waterfront boardwalk, lighting and an upgraded boat ramp, but work stopped short of the final phases for a lack of funding.
That all changed when Biloxi answered a call from the state seeking shovel-ready projects that could be funded with BP money.
Months ago, Gilich asked the City Council to hire Seymour Engineering to transform artist’s renderings into construction documents, and last week, work began at the site.
“Initially, you’ll see the clearing of the sites for the bait shop, the interpretive center and the nature trails,”ť said Charlie Dellenger of Seymour Engineering, who briefed the City Council on the project Tuesday.
“You’ll see plenty of activity at the site as time goes by,” Dellenger said.