by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Following a four year pursuit of federal funds for a project that would be over an early estimate of $20 million, the Long Beach Board of Aldermen chose to stop the Beatline Parkway at last Tuesday’s meeting.  With Pass Christian dropping out and Harrison County not giving any indication of moving forward; as both had originally planned in 2018, Long Beach voted roll call 4-2 to stop the project.

Long Beach Alderman-at-Large Donald Frazer, Ward 1 Alderman Patrick Bennett, Ward 3 Alderwoman Angie Johnson and Ward 4 Alderman Timothy McCaffrey, Jr. all voted to cease the project and the Phase 1 Environmental Study.  Ward 2 Alderman Bernie Parker and Ward 5 Mike Brown voted no.  Ward 6 Alderman Pete McGoey had to leave the meeting early for personal reasons.

“There were three entities that wanted to be a part of this project originally,” expressed Frazer.  “Due to the change of everyone’s administrations and of Long Beach needing more money for the harbor, drainage, and other projects, we can’t ask the taxpayers to help foot the bill if we’re the only one.”

Other officials stated this was the right decision because of the city’s finances.  This was after the city was in line to receive a $16.8 million grant to help Phase 1 of the project in November 2021.

Back in February of 2018, the city of Long Beach unanimously approved proposed plans for a new freeway and economic development corridor. The historic changes for the new road-planning process proposed was in conjunction with Harrison County and the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Interlocal Agreement on the creation of Beatline Parkway — a road connector on Beatline Road from Interstate 10 to the beach along Highway 90.

Along with these plans, the city would have received more federal funds for the creation of a hurricane evacuation route.

The first indication of the project going south was in the first January meeting of 2022 when the city was forced to table the Memorandum of Understanding before beginning the project because they heard nothing from Pass Christian nor the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.

Even after the “Friendly City” invited the city of Pass Christian and Board of Supervisors to discuss the phase earlier in 2022, no real interest was given to the project from the new administrations.  Subsequently, Pass Christian officially dropped out in early 2022 and the county board had not brought this up in any recent agenda.