Bay St. Louis plans to add a new launch ramp for additional access to “fun in the sun.”
- Story by Jerry Beaugez
For anyone who has entered or exited Bay St. Louis on Hwy 603 in the past several decades, they probably know this spot as the former location of The Cave, a popular waterfront bar.
People from across the region would gather supplies and beverages for a day on the water and launch from there. From this point they could easily navigate Bayou LaCroix to the Jourdan River and then quickly set out for fun in the sun. The bar never reopened after Hurricane Katrina because of insurance issues.
The property is located in Ward 6 which, prior to becoming part of the city through annexation in 2006, was known as the Shoreline Park community. Created in the 1950s and ‘60s, the developers dug all of the canals in the area to offer waterfront property for full time residents and as vacation spots for others. Over 41 square miles of canals were created then, and many homes have been built since its conception.
Councilman Josh DeSalvo was elected to represent Ward 6 in 2017. From day one he has been committed to bringing new amenities to his area. He confirmed that the funds for the purchase of the property are part of a $600,000 GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Support Act) grant which was awarded to the City of Bay St. Louis. The grant can only be used for waterfront maintenance, development and other activities, such as the purchase of lands which support preservation and access to outdoor lands for public recreation.
According to DeSalvo, the $325,000 purchase was approved by the City Council on May 19. He further stated that the city plans “to build new boat ramps and bulkheads and parking.”
Due to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) requirements for structures at the property, The Cave will need to be torn down. But DeSalvo states that one of the discussions has been to create “an open air-type pavilion for people to enjoy.” He would also would like to see development of the launch as a catalyst for commercial development. DeSalvo, referring to a popular coast restaurant chain, said he’d like to see a “Shaggy’s-style restaurant built on the adjacent bayou-front property.”
DeSalvo said he’s “very excited” about the project, which will be the first amenity created in Ward 6. He hopes the city will have a full plan available in the near future and begin the call for construction bids.
“This will be a great improvement for the entire city,” DeSalvo said.
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