Changes in works for Howard Avenue, old federal courthouse

Both of the ideas have been discussed for years – returning two-way traffic to Howard Avenue and doing something with the abandoned old federal courthouse in downtown Biloxi – and today marked a dual milestone.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich donned a hardhat and glasses and took a jackhammer to a section of concrete on Howard Avenue at Reynoir Street, signaling the beginning this week of a 180-day project that will see the return of two-way traffic on Howard Avenue between Reynoir and Lameuse. The $1.9 million initiative also will see the return of street-side parking on Howard Avenue, along with street-side parking on Lameuse north of Howard and on Howard itself between Lameuse and Main. The work also will see a newly designed intersection on Howard east of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, making it easier for westbound traffic to travel to downtown Biloxi on Howard Avenue. 

Contractors were moving equipment into the work area this morning and were removing street poles, which will be restored and reused.

Howard Avenue between Reynoir and Lameuse closed to traffic today. Motorists should park in public lots north and south of Howard Avenue, off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the north and off Jackson Street to the south.

While the mayor was taking part in the ceremony this morning at Howard and Reynoir, the city’s Community Development Department was issuing a permit for the demolition of a long-vacant downtown structure, the old federal courthouse, which is on MLK Boulevard between Lameuse and Main streets.

A demoliution permit, valued at $65,000, was issued to DCD Construction, to demolish the old courthouse. DCD, an Ocean Springs firm, is expected to begin demolition on April 23 and should have the site cleared about 45 days later, weather permitting. The site was recently purchased by Community Bank, which has not formally announced plans but has engaged the architectural firm Dale Partners to design a new building for the site.
See video of the Howard Avenue ceremony 
See images of the Howard Avenue ceremony
See video of the old federal courthouse


News and notes: Weekly report, traffic, senior Olympics

The week in review: Ever wonder how busy the Biloxi Police and Fire departments, and the Community Development and Engineering departments are in a given week? You can find out each week in the Weekly Report, a compilation of police and fire responses, building permits issued, and the status of major public works. To see the week-by-week archive of reports, including the one for last week, click here.

Traffic update:  To see the latest traffic advisories and road closures, click here

MS Senior Olympics: The Mississippi Senior Olympics is taking place across the coast with games played through May 26.  To see more about the games and the schedule of events, click here