MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
April 25, 2006
Committee Members: Hank Salcido (Chair), Ellie Vasilopoulos, Col Richard Pierce,
J. J. Vollmuth, Chris Moore, Wes Toche,
Also Present: Lt Gen Clark Griffith (Renaissance Chair), Sgt Carlos Diaz (Public Affairs - Keesler)
Hank Salcido called the meeting to order and welcomed the committee. Hank introduced Col Richard Pierce, the new Vice Commander of Keesler AFB, who will serve as a member of our committee.
Gen Griffith reminded the committee that we are in our last month. The days will go by very fast and we need to focus on what’s going to come out of our committee and start putting it on paper. He would like to have the draft by May 22nd so he can put the report together and have it printed by May 31st. He stated that it is becoming clearer of the overlap between our committee and other committees, e.g. Land Use (Keesler); Transportation (Keesler Gate); Education, Housing (Single family Housing, Apartments for permanent residents, Low Rise Condos, Condo Towers and Condotels. Bottom line is that 50,000 housing units are expected to be built in the Gulf Region. He reminded the committee that Keesler contributes 1.4 billion annually to the economy of the Gulf Coast. Gen Griffith stated that Keesler is well on its way to recovery inside the gates and that there needs to be a focus outside the gates.
The committee reviewed the minutes of the previous minutes and discussed the following:
Airspace: Protection of Keesler is imperative. Encroachment, density, and height restrictions all continue to be vital to the security and safekeeping of Keesler. The City of Biloxi and Keesler should continue to prevent this issue from being a problem.
Affordable Housing: We need to get families back together as soon as we can.
Harrison Court: Col Pierce reviewed the plans for Harrison Court and stated the Family Camp is being considered for relocation this summer. The present location of the Family Camp will be used to build base housing.
North/South Connector: A considerable amount of discussion was generated over the proposed option published in the Sun Herald, which may affect the rebuilding of housing on Keesler. Other options should be considered. Committee is waiting an update from the City via Wes Fulmer on the status of the connector.
Medical Facilities: It was reiterated that the community couldn’t absorb the needs of the Keesler. It is expected that Keesler will be rebuilt to pre-Katrina days. The Medical vision for the Coast remains to work with the Veterans Administration and, University of MS Medical School, to coordinate common needs.
Keesler Gate: Keesler is still studying the relocation of gates. Gen Griffith will schedule meeting with Brig General Capasso, Keesler Commander, to determine where the City of Biloxi can provide assistance.
Education: Hank received information from David Spinks, Biloxi Schools. Approximately 500 military dependent children did not enroll in the school system after Katrina. This is undoubtedly due to the displacement of the military family and affects school budgets because of the government subsidy. The city of Biloxi and Keesler should work for the expeditious return of the military family.
Next meeting was scheduled for May 10, at 4:00 PM in the 81 Civil Engineering Conference Room, Keesler AFB.
Hank Salcido, Chair
Military/Government Committee -
DATE: Wednesday, April 26, 2006
TIME: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
LOCATION: Gulf Coast Business Technology Center, 1636
Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, large meeting room.
RSVP to Hank Salcido at 228-354-8066 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT - Minutes of April 10, 2006 meeting
Committee Members: Hank Salcido(Chair), Ellie Vasilopoulos, Joy Bissonette,
J. J. Vollmuth, Chris Moore, Wes Toche
Also Present: Lt Gen Clark Griffith (Renaissance Chair), Wes Fulmer (Economic Development Chair)
Hank Salcido called to meeting to order and welcomed the committee. Self-introductions were made. He asked Gen Griffith to give opening remarks.
Gen Griffith said our three objectives are to come up with the following by 31 May 06
1. Realistic Plan
2. Realistic Time Table
3. Realistic Cost(s)
He also stated that undoubtedly; we would have some overlap with the other committees and to make sure we coordinate our efforts with these other committees. The preparation of minutes is vital to the success of our committee. Information on the other committees is available on the city web site www.biloxi.ms.us.
Wes Toche gave an update of Keesler’s recovery effort and will provide an update at the next meeting.
Items for Consideration:
Airspace - Hank Salcido said that one important issue is protecting Keesler AFB Airspace to include height restrictions, density and runway encroachment. Criteria may be changing and new charts prepared. It is imperative that the City of D’Iberville gets on board and Biloxi continues to support Keesler’s airspace requirements.
Division Street Gate – We need to study additional access to Keesler from Division Street. Wes Fulmer said he would get with Jerry Creel and David Stallings to investigate this possibility.
Keesler Military Family Housing - As a result of Hurricane Katrina, Keesler has proposed replacement of all it’s MFH with 1067 new houses. Ellie asked what impact tentative plans for a North/South Connector would have on Keesler housing. Several of the proposed routes would take the road through part of Keesler housing areas. MDOT should brief the city on their proposed plans on the North/South connector.
Civilian/Contractor Housing – Is there adequate off- base housing for the civilian workforce?
Harrison Court Housing Area – The houses in this area have been demolished and according to Wes Toche, this area is currently programmed for the new MFH contractor’s laydown and material storage site for the duration of the project. A Family RV Camp is also being considered at this location.
Schools - Unofficial information indicates that 4200 of the 6000 children are back in school. Gen Griffith would like for us to find out how many are children of military stationed at Keesler and what the timetable is for families coming back into the area. Federal government is subsidizing schools right now but that is scheduled to terminate. (Requires coordination with Steering Group School Committee)
Keesler Medical Facilities – Gen Griffith questioned whether the local health care facilities within the community can handle the additional military load. He indicated that it is imperative that the Keesler Medical Center be brought up to speed as quickly as possible. The Medical Vision for the Coast was to build up the Biloxi VA, after closing Gulfport VA and working with the University of MS Medical School to enhance medical capability for the Coast. (Requires coordination with Steering Group Medical Committee).
Next meeting is Wednesday April 26th at 1600 hours (4:00-5:00PM) at the Business Technology Center, 1636 Popps Ferry Road, large Conference Room.
Hank Salcido, Chair