Oaks to be Removed for Road-Widening Project

Old oak tree

Old oak tree

A new Ocean Springs High School is under construction in Jackson County Mississippi. Along with the new school, county supervisors plan on widening Mississippi 57 to three lanes between U.S. 90 and Old Spanish Trail. It will also add a sidewalk, other safety features, and crossing arms at the railroad track. But this construction comes at a price – four live oaks and some water oaks will have to be cut down on the east side of Mississippi 57.

To compensate for the tree losses, the county has been working closely with the city of Gautier, who opposes the removal of the trees. “We’ve mitigated by furnishing $10,000 to the city to plant additional trees and by agreeing to pay the full cost of moving all utilities, which would normally be the city’s responsibility,” said board President John McKay. Trees are also going to be donated by Land Trust, whom the county is working with.

A nearby resident who was interviewed feels that the county has rushed into a decision without thought and suggests using eminent domain to relocate the project to the west side of Mississippi 57. McKay says that the closeness of Fontainebleau Community Center, the fire station, and other buildings keep the county from considering a move to the west.