Pat Harrison Waterway District moving headquarter location

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Pat Harrison Waterway District will move its headquarters to Jones County after spending decades on Highway 49 near Forrest General Hospital.

"We've got business park, probably about 450 acres of it out here, and we're always trying to get businesses out here, and this is a nice one to get here," said Tom Heanue, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport, which is where the district will buy land.

"We'll probably come up with two or three locations, let them look at them and see which ones they like the best, then they'll come and present their plans and specs to our board of what they're going to build and get approval and then we'll work on the selling of the property, and they'll start building," said Heanue.

The cause of this move is uncertain, and attempts to reach district director were unsuccessful.

The waterway district continues a court battle after three counties have pulled their contracts with the district.

Over the past three years, The Pat Harrison Waterway District has lost three of its 15 contracted counties.

First was Lamar County, followed by Jasper and Forrest Counties. Lamar County went to court to claim they did not have to pay their end of the deal to the waterway district until the end of time, like Pat Harrison claimed. Lamar County won that lawsuit, prompting the other two to make their moves.  Now, the waterway district wants the decision overturned.

The counties that have withdrawn from the water way contributed money annually. Lamar County contributed $385,000 annually, Jasper less than $150,000, and Forrest $460,000.

The district is approaching an April 21 deadline to file briefs for that appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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