Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and members of the Coast legislative delegation announced Thursday the state has made a deal to buy 217 acres of Cat Island to be set aside for public use.
The total purchase price for the land is $8 million, with $528,000 coming from state tidelands funds, which come from casino leases. Those tidelands funds were leveraged with about $5 million in federal oil spill settlement funds and $1.2 million in Federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program funds. The Legislature also authorized the state to use nearly $1.3 million that had been set aside to purchase Deer Island to purchase the Cat Island land instead.
Hosemann, who met with the Sun Herald while he was on the Coast to sign the agreement, said he believes the state will find a way to provide public transportation out to the island so people can enjoy the natural resources there. He was excited about the deal.
“This place is a jewel for the Coast and the state of Mississippi,” Hosemann said. “I’ve recognized the value of this for so many years.”
About 10 years ago, the Legislature passed a $10 million bond bill and spent about $8.8 million of it to purchase most of Deer Island, except a small sliver that is still privately held. The owner of that portion doesn’t want to sell. Senate Bill 2700, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed this year, allowed the state to take the remaining $1.3 million of that bond and match it with other funds to negotiate for part of Cat Island.
- Cat Island purchase cleared by Senate, awaits Governor’s approval. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Hosemann says SEC finally releasing settlement money two years late. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)