City seeks your memories of downtown Biloxi

“Everybody has their memories of what made downtown Biloxi special,” says Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo” Gilich, “and we’re looking for people to share those memories.”

The input from residents is a key part of the first phase of a fourth-month process that is going to result in an action plan toward restoring downtown Biloxi.

“We all have our ideas,” Gilich said, “and Lord knows there have been a number of plans over the years. What we’re creating right now is a plan of action. I know some things that I want to see done, but I want to hear memories right now. Those things that made Howard Avenue and the downtown area special are going to guide us as we move forward.”

The city has contracted with Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District to develop a restoration plan, which Gilich wants to see resurrect the bustling commercial district that was once the heart of the Biloxi downtown.

“The most challenging aspect of any plan is to make sure it’s implemented,” said SMPDD planner Lindsay Ward, the project lead on the downtown restoration. “It’s going to take a partnership from everyone at the table, with a clear vision of our goal, to restore downtown Biloxi. The implementation is always the challenge on any plan.”

SMPDD’s contract is in four phases or tasks, which must be completed in four months. Those are Task 1, collection and review of existing plans; Task 2, general assessment, consultation with mayor and his designees, and consultation with City Council; Task 3,  goals, objectives and priorities, public hearing at City Council meeting; and Task 4, action plan and recommendations.

“This is a quick turnaround,” Ward said, “but it’s very doable if we all work together.”

Added Gilich: “We have a great opportunity to make our downtown something that we can all be proud of. It really can be something that says ‘We are Biloxi.'”

Now is your chance: Do you have memories of the pre-urban development downtown Biloxi?  We want to hear from you. To visit the city’s Facebook page, where you can see photos from the pre-urban development days and leave your memories, click here.

Don’t have Facebook? Send your memories to


Weekly report offers reminder of kitchen-fire dangers

Last week, Biloxi firefighters were called to four fires: three kitchen fires and one trash fire. 

Since cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home injuries, firefighters are reminding residents to never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking.

According to a 2013 survey by the insurance firm Liberty Mutual, nearly half of the company’s consumers said that they left the kitchen to either talk or text someone or to check emails while cooking. 

“The major cause is unattended cooking.” Fire Chief Joe Boney said.  “And a large cause is from those age 25 to 35 who just walk away, many times, for some small distraction.”

Boney advises citizens, that if they experience a cooking fire, to leave the house and call 911. 

Also, it is important to make sure that you have a working smoke detector in your home. 

The Biloxi Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division offers free smoke detectors to residents who need them and, in addition to installing smoke detectors, firefighters will check test existing smoke detectors and offer free safety tips to homeowners.

Call the fire department at 228-435-6200 to request the free service.

Meanwhile, the Biloxi Police Department reported 2,514 calls for service, making 99 arrests last week and the Community Development Department issues 60 permits with a total valuation of more than $850,000.
See the cooking safety flyer
See the free smoke detector sign up form
See the complete weekly report


News and notes

Bark in the Park: It’s going to be ruff today at MGM Park. It’s Bark in the Park promotion, where fans bring their canines to the ballgame, and you can see pets offered by the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Also, on the field, the Biloxi Shuckers continue their five-game series with the Mississippi Braves. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. To visit the Shuckers website, click here.

Flood talk: You can hear about the importance of buying flood insurance during a segment of the “The 4 o’clock Show” today on WLOX. If you’re still unsure about why you should buy flood insurance, see the postcard that was sent to all residents of Biloxi last week. Click here.