City seeks to modernize Point Cadet Marina

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday OK’d a contract of almost a quarter-million dollars to upgrade the electrical system at Point Cadet Marina, and the work only touches the surface of what the city wants to see done at the 35-year-old facility.

Contractor DNP of Biloxi was awarded a $228,000 job that will repair electrical issues on the east side of the marina, and on the west side, upgrade electrical pedestals from 100 amps to 200 amps to accommodate larger boats, especially the hundred or so 65-foot-plus craft at the marina for the annual billfish tournament. The work is expected to begin in about a month and be completed by the end of May, ahead of the June 3-9 tournament.

Meanwhile, the city is asking the Legislature to fund an 18-million-dollar bond issue for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to upgrade Point Cadet Marina to accommodate larger vessels and improve docking facilities for research vessels operated by the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

“We’re asking the Legislature to set aside about one million dollars a year of the $8-plus million a year in Tidelands lease funds generated each year right now from Biloxi waterfront businesses,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “If our local legislators are able to make that happen, DMR will be able to use that money for bonding capacity to fund modernization of Point Cadet Marina.

“We’re not talking about expanding the marina. We’re talking about using the existing space, but using floating docks, which will be less susceptible to storm damage, to create larger slips, and deepening the marina and improving the west bulkhead at the same time.”

Back when the marina was constructed in 1986, as part of the city’s award-winning waterfront master plan during the administration of Mayor Gerald Blessey, there was a demand for smaller vessels, Gilich said, noting the marina can now accommodate vessels measuring from 25 to 130 feet.

“Today, we have 246 slips and about a 50 percent occupancy rate at Point Cadet Marina,” Gilich said. “If we make these improvements, if we see this evolution of quality and size, we’ll be tapping into a market that would see 75-foot yachts traveling the intercoastal waterway to Point Cadet. They’re larger boats; their stay would be longer.”

The funding plan, Gilich said, would be similar to what the state employed to buy Deer Island years ago.

“We’re hoping that our local legislators can see the wisdom in this plan,” Gilich said. “It’s about making sure we have good docking space for the state research vessels. It’s about economic development, waterfront improvements, and public access to the waterfront, which is what the Tidelands program is all about.

“When Point Cadet Marina was conceived 35 years ago, it was a great plan,” Gilich added. “Now it’s time to take it to the next level, and we’re asking our legislators to help make it happen.
Video: A dramatic look at Point Cadet Marina


Council hears about trees, short-term rentals

Two ongoing issues – regulation of protected trees in the city and oversight of short-term rentals – were front and center Tuesday night during Biloxi City Council meeting. 
Video: See the full meeting
Gallery: See images from the meeting
See background on the short-term rental issue


News & notes: Clydesdales, traffic update

Clydesdales: The Budweiser Clydesdales will be in front of Biloxi City Hall this evening around 6 o’clock for photos, part of a downtown and Coastwide tour. 

Traffic update: Husley Road will be closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles Friday to allow paving.  The closure will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To see other traffic updates, click here.