Companies on Singing River Island have more than replaced the number of civilian positions lost after BRAC 2005.
The former Naval Station (NS) Pascagoula and Singing River Island (SRI) are currently home to six maritime companies and government entities that employ a total of 174 people. Ingalls Shipbuilding is the largest employer with 150 people on the former installation. Other tenants include the U.S Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard Station Pascagoula, and SERCO, Inc. Areas of SRI are also used by state and local agencies for short-term training activities, and by the local community college for specialized training programs.
The Mississippi Secretary of State, Jackson County Port Authority (JCPA), and the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation (JCEDF) work closely together to market the main base property and existing facilities on SRI to tenants. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced its selection of southern Mississippi for a small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) demonstration range facility. Multiple range locations support the Department’s missions of border security, maritime security, and counter-UAS operations. Mississippi State University has facilities on SRI to provide DHS and its sister agencies unencumbered air and water access to the Gulf of Mexico.
NS Pascagoula occupied 187 acres of SRI in the Mississippi Sound at the mouth of the Singing (née Pascagoula) River. It was created in 1985 when the Navy selected the Singing River Island location as one of the new Gulf Coast strategic homeport sites. Base construction began in 1988, and the station became an operational homeport of Perry Class guided missile frigates in 1992. NS Pascagoula’s support mission increased dramatically in subsequent years due to a variety of actions: the 1993 realignment of ships and other units from closing or downsized bases; the reorganization of the Naval Surface Force, Atlantic, which homeported Ticonderoga Class AEGIS guided missile cruisers in Pascagoula; and the relocation to the NS of both the Pascagoula Coast Guard Station and a Reliance Class (210’) Coast Guard cutter.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended NS Pascagoula for closure, resulting in the loss of 123 civilian positions. The closure affected the main base and the Sandhill Landing Family Housing area, both located in Jackson County, MS. The 75 buildings on 528 acres of government-owned land at the main base were subject to reversion back to the State. The 160-unit Sandhill Family Housing area was transferred under a Department of Defense conveyance to the Department of the Air Force in December 2008, which lessened the post-Katrina housing shortage at Keesler Air Force Base. The Navy retained approximately 19 acres of the Lakeside Manor Bachelor Housing Area for transient housing of new ship pre-commissioning crews, while transferring approximately 14 acres to the City of Pascagoula for expansion of an adjacent city park.
The Naval Station Pascagoula Local Redevelopment Planning Authority (LRA) was formed in 2006 to plan for the future of the main base. The LRA had broad membership including the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, several business leaders, and the mayors of the Jackson County jurisdictions of Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Moss Point, and Gautier. The LRA was staffed by JCEDF and the JCPA.
Formal execution of the property reversion and title transfer of the main base occurred in June 2007. It was originally slated to occur in November 2006; however, Hurricane Katrina struck Pascagoula on August 29, 2005. In the aftermath, the Navy worked with the State to identify and make necessary building repairs before transferring the property. Later, the State of Mississippi provided Hurricane Katrina block grant funds to improve multiple buildings that were affected by the storm to support activities for Ingalls Shipbuilding.
Following the reversion of the main base to the State of Mississippi, the State entered into a long-term partnership with the JCPA to begin reuse and redevelopment efforts. JCPA has a 99-year lease for SRI and its facilities. It is responsible for the upkeep of the assets and shares net revenue with the state.
Updated October 2020