Biloxi to update downtown signage, add kiosks

The City of Biloxi, armed with a $50,000 Preserve America grant, is in the process of updating its walking and driving tours and related brochures, and installing all-weather kiosks and signage for the downtown walking tour.

The overall project is scheduled to be completed in May 2008 and is expected to cost $100,000.

Bill Raymond, the city’s historic administrator, was among representatives of 14 Preserve America Communities who met in Vicksburg, where four grants were presented, including one for Biloxi to update its heritage marketing program.

The primary objectives of the grant program are to educate the public about Biloxi’s historic resources, to promote their continued preservation and to commemorate the significant historic buildings destroyed by Katrina.

Raymond is working with a committee that includes representatives of the local chambers of commerce, Biloxi Main Street, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area, and consultant Deanne Nuwer.

“Through this grant, we’re updating the city’s historic walking and driving tours and related brochures to identify existing historic buildings and their current uses,” Raymond said. “All-weather signage will be designed and installed to coordinate with the tour brochures, which will be complementary in design to the City’s Local Historic Landmark plaques.”

The project also includes developing educational kiosks at the Biloxi Town Green, which is the starting point of the walking tour, and at the City’s new Visitors Center and Lighthouse Park. The kiosks will house tour brochures and information interpreting the architectural history of the City and its development as well as its post-Katrina redevelopment. These kiosks also will help promote local events, exhibits, performances and other cultural resources of Biloxi. Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is volunteering to develop a locally-appropriate, unique kiosk.

“I’m so pleased to be working on such a meaningful project,” said consultant Nuwer. “The Preserve America grant is helping us get the word out that Biloxi continues to have many historic resources worth celebrating. We’re filling an educational gap, also, in providing information to Biloxi’s newest residents – regardless of whether they’re here permanently or not – so they can better understand the rich cultural heritage of the City they’re helping to rebuild.”

Biloxi, designated a Preserve America Community in 2004 by First Lady Laura Bush, once boasted a wide variety of historic resources that included 19 individually listed properties and four districts on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark, Beauvoir.

As one of the state’s first Certified Local Government communities, the city has a long history not only of actively supporting preservation efforts, but of restoring historic buildings and developing museums and cultural centers to educate residents and tourists about Biloxi’s rich cultural heritage and ethnic diversity. Biloxi also has one of the state’s oldest Main Street Programs and since the late 1980s has granted tax credits for the adaptive re-use of historic buildings in its central business district.

Funding for this project was made available through a Preserve America Grant from the National Park Service. For additional information, contact Bill Raymond at or Deanne Nuwer

Biloxi among 14 communities recognized in Mississippi

Bill Raymond, the city’s historic administrator, was among representatives of 14 Preserve America Communities who met in Vicksburg, where four grants were presented, including one for Biloxi to update its heritage marketing program.

The event, which was held at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center in Vicksburg, was headlined by Gov. Haley Barbour and coordinated by John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Also addressing the gathering were Mitch Butler, the Department of the Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Vicksburg Mayor Laurence Leyens.

The 14 Preserve America Communities in Mississippi are Baldwyn, Biloxi, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, Corinth, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Leland, Oxford, Pascagoula, Port Gibson, Raymond, and Vicksburg.

The four Preserve America Grant recipients in Mississippi are the Mississippi State Historic Preservation Office, “Rebuilding Mississippi’s Heritage Tourism Industry Post Hurricane Katrina”; Biloxi, “Heritage Tourism Marketing Program”; Corinth, “Corinth Civil War Preservation Project”; and Vicksburg, “Regional Tribute to the 150th Anniversary of the Vicksburg Campaign.”

Preserve America is a Bush administration initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local par¬ticipation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

For more information, including a list of communities, neighborhoods, and grants, visit