Bay Harbor Opens
By Geoff Belcher
Jun 27, 2014, 20:29
The harbor and Jimmy Rutherford Pier will open to the public today at 8 a.m.
The long-awaited Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor and Marina open for business at 8 a.m. on Saturday, about three weeks ahead of the latest estimates.
"It will be a soft opening," Mayor Les Fillingame told the Bay St. Louis City Council on Thursday. "Our official grand opening will still occur July 25, in conjunction with Harbor Fest."
The new Jimmy Rutherford Pier will also open to the public today. The original pier, named in honor of the late city councilman, was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Fillingame has often said publicly that the harbor will be an "economic engine" for downtown Bay St. Louis."
The project is not without its critics, however, who say they don't believe the $25 million project will attract the out-of-town luxury yacht business necessary to pay the bills it will incur.
Fillingame said Thursday there are already people scheduled to dock in the harbor beginning today.
There are also already two festivals scheduled to take place at the facility, the Bay Harbor Fest and Bay BridgeFest (more on BridgeFest on page 3A of today's edition).
One of the headlining artists for this year's Harbor Fest, scheduled July 25-27, is Waveland native Michael Grimm. Local artist Rochelle Harper is signed to perform and other artists are expected to be announced soon.
Harbor Fest will also host fund raising events for Hope Haven, an adult and children's fishing tournament; a beach party near the Rutherford Pier; an art market, and food and beer court.
The full-service marina will contain 160 slips, ranging from 35 to 60 feet, all with electrical and water service connections; 12 of the slips will be ADA compliant.
A fuel dock and pump-out stations are included.
The harbor will also have a 350 foot day pier and 1,000 foot fishing pier with covered fishing platforms.
"The new harbor is going to be a premier destination," Mayor Les Fillingame said earlier this year. "Local and regional boaters are already expressing interest in docking here.
"Its location in the heart of Old Town sets it apart from other harbors in the area. It's literally walking distance from all that downtown has to offer."