Waveland alderman Jeremy Burke looks back on a difficult 2021 and looks ahead to what residents can expect in 2022.
- by Jeremy Burke
As we roll into 2022, Waveland is beginning a three-phase, city-wide paving project. During the first phase, 55 streets will either be partially or completely overlaid with asphalt. The first phase of the paving project will be completed in the first half of 2022. Phase Two and Phase Three of the project will see a large portion of Central Avenue repaired and Kiln-Waveland Cutoff Road repaved. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors and the City of Waveland will be partnering to fix the troublesome Kiln-Waveland Cutoff Road.
As everyone knows, Waveland received a record amount of rainfall in 2021. During the last two years, Waveland has had some extraordinary rainfall events causing flooding that has damaged several homes and structures. Drainage is a never-ending battle that many municipalities face. The city of Waveland has been in discussion with local engineering company Chiniche Engineering to put together some projects that will cure many of the drainage woes that a few Waveland neighborhoods have been experiencing. In Ward 1, I have asked Chiniche Engineering to look at the drainage in the neighborhood south of Henderson Street, east of Nicholson Avenue, and north of CSX railroad tracks. This area of Waveland is one of the highest points in our community but arguably has the worst drainage system. The scope of work is still being worked out; therefore, no timetable is established, but the plan is in motion.
The week of Halloween in 2020, Hurricane Zeta did extensive damage to homes, trees, and the beachfront in Waveland. It appears that few homes still have a blue tarp on their roof, and the debris along the roads has been removed, but the Waveland beachfront is still a mess. The pier and Waveland’s Veteran Memorial are still destroyed. Waveland’s Veterans Memorial has been approved for repair, but the bids from the contractors’ bids were too high. The Board of Alderman decided to reject all of the bids and ask FEMA if Waveland could self-perform the work, which means that some of it would be done in-house while other aspects of the job would require the hiring of outside contractors. This request was made three months ago, but FEMA still has not given Waveland an answer. I ultimately expect Waveland’s Veterans Memorial to be completed in 2022, but I would not be surprised if it is completed by the end of the summer of 2022.
As for the Garfield Ladner Pier, it is the same story, but a different storm. The Waveland administration has had a conference call or meeting with FEMA nearly every week for the last year. Yet for all this, residents and visitors will be without the Garfield Ladner Pier for another summer. The realist in me has a hard time believing that Waveland will have the pier open in 2022.
One change that I know Waveland residents will see this year is the change in the ward map in Waveland. Every 10 years, municipalities, counties and states must redistrict to reflect the population shift. Waveland has gained full-time residents during the last ten years, and the ward with the most growth has been Ward 1. During the next several months, Waveland will have the new Waveland ward map finalized, and inevitably some of the constituents who I have represented for the past seven years will no longer be in Ward 1. Still, Ward 1 will possibly gain some new sections of Waveland. Although I do not have any say on how the ward lines are drawn, I am happy to serve the constituents in Ward 1 and the city of Waveland.
The last seven years of being your Waveland Ward 1 alderman have been a rewarding experience. It has allowed me to serve hundreds of people. I started the job as alderman as a newlywed with a 4th grader. Today, I have been married for a decade with a soon-to-be senior in high school and a first grader. When I decided to go into public service, one of the main reasons was that elected officials never seemed to have much skin in the game. Often public servants have already raised their children and have established careers that see retirement on the horizon. I have 30 years before retiring, and I still have two college tuitions on the horizon. When I qualified to run for alderman the first time, I was 28 years old. I am 35 now, and I feel like I have more skin in the game than ever before.
For me, being a public servant is a calling. It enables me to serve the community and make it a better place for our children. With the Waveland election happening at the end of 2022, I have been encouraged by neighbors, friends, and my wife to commit to four more years of service in Waveland as a public servant. After many hours of thoughts and prayers, I want you to know that I will be seeking another term as Waveland Ward 1 alderman.
As always, if you ever need to reach me with questions, suggestions, or concerns, please contact me at 228-493-7399 or email@example.com. Let’s have a happy and prosperous 2022.
Jeremy L Burke
Ward 1 Alderman
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