BILOXI sign to be electrified this evening

This evening at 6:30, the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce will hold a ceremony to re-light the Town Green’s BILOXI sign, which had been displaced from its two brick pillars and heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The chamber several years ago had moved the two pillars to the Town Green from a park that had been located near the former train station at Reynoir Street, and at the same time had an illuminated BILOXI sign created to resemble a sign that once welcomed visitors at the train station.

Since the storm, the chamber has worked with the city, Keesler engineers and painters, local contractors and area businesses to refurbish the sign, which will be electrified for the first time this evening, when Mayor A.J. Holloway, and leaders from Keesler and the chamber will flip a switch to send electric current to the sign.

To see photos of the sign – taken before Katrina, while water still lapped at the foot of the sign, and at it looks today – click here.

Holloway calls special meeting on flood-elevation issue

Mayor A.J. Holloway, armed with a State Ethics Commission opinion okaying Councilmember Ed Gemmill to vote on proposed new flood elevations, has called a special meeting of the City Council for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., when the mayor hopes councilmembers will vote to approve the FEMA-recommended flood elevations.

The council has declined to vote on the measure since February, instead proposing a watered-down version of the FEMA-recommended flood elevations, which are designed to reduce the damage from storms and flooding. The council had hoped to have the matter on the agenda last week when another snag arose.

The delay surrounded whether Ward 6 Councilmember Gemmill could vote on the issue, since he and thousands of others who lost their homes would quality for increased cost of compliance or “ICC” grants of up to $30,000. Gemmill lost his north Biloxi home to Hurricane Katrina.

This morning, the State Ethics Commission ruled that the ICC grant “is clearly designed not to benefit the recipient but to help cover the increased cost of complying with heightened elevations.”

To read the agenda for the 11:30 a.m. special meeting and the 1:30 p.m. meeting, click here.

To read background on the FEMA flood elevation issue, click here.