Our Alabama and Mississippi coastal communities value vibrant and resilient coastal development that lets residents access our bays and Gulf in a safe and sustainable way. I have the pleasure of working with the city of Fairhope, Alabama, on a project that puts these principles into practice.
During a Coastal Community Resilience Index exercise, Fairhope identified several projects to focus their efforts in order to make the city more resilient to coastal weather events. One project identified was to redesign the city marina, called the Fairhope Docks, to address stormwater issues and develop the marina in a more resilient way, while maintaining a working waterfront aspect. Several slips at the marina are leased to commercial fishermen, and the city wants to ensure this tie to the working waterfront remains.
Through funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, we have been able to work with the Mississippi State University Community Design Studio to design what will be a marina with the intent of achieving Clean Marina designation status that is better protected from storms while correcting stormwater issues on site. The marina will also maintain a connection to the working waterfront. A technical advisory committee has toured the site and given technical assistance to the city on several occasions. These efforts have led to the city receiving a Clean Vessel Act grant from the state to install a pumpout station that will reduce water pollution in Fly Creek and Mobile Bay.
Draft designs are awaiting final approval, but Fairhope city leaders are excited about redeveloping the marina to a more resilient standard. Since participating in the Coastal Community Resilience Index, Fairhope has renewed its focus on maintaining resilient standards in the city while prioritizing its connection to Mobile Bay.