City to move forward on Lighthouse Park, Civic Center; other news and notes

Mayor A.J. Holloway next week will be asking the City Council to hire an engineering firm to begin plans for two key city rebuilding projects, the Biloxi Lighthouse Park and Visitors Center, and a downtown civic center, which will be housed in the former location of the Biloxi Public Library.

The proposals are two of more than 30 measures on the agenda for the council’s 1:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The council will also meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday to continue discussions of the municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2008, which begins Oct. 1.

During the afternoon agenda, Holloway has included a measure asking councilmembers to hire the engineering firm Neel-Schaffer to begin working on the Lighthouse Park and Visitors Center, and the Civic Center. Contracts with the group would total $275,000. To see a rendering and read background on the proposed Visitors Center and other city projects, click here.

Also on the agenda: approval of $457,000 in contracts for consultant Jimmy Gouras to administer and manage the city’s Katrina-related community revitalization grant funds, a program that is expected to see nearly $13 million in initial federal and state funds to the city for the Visitors Center and civic center projects. Gouras’s fees, which are set by the Mississippi Development Authority, will be paid with federal and state funds.

The agenda also includes final payments for city work on Caillavet Street and Edgewater subdivision drainage, purchase of equipment and supplies for city departments, and a proposal to hire an engineering firm for improvements to Veterans Avenue.

First reading of a proposal to change zoning from heavy industry to waterfront will be conducted for the 4.62-acre tract of land now occupied by Custom Pack Inc., on Bayview Avenue, adjacent to Boomtown. The re-zoning would allow casino gaming at the site.

To read the entire agenda and available resolutions, click here.

Webcasting: Police, annexation, Tivoli and more

Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan, whose officers appeared before the Biloxi City Council Tuesday to request a 15 percent pay increase, guests on the weekly “City Desk” webcast.

Among the other topics covered by Bay Press Editor Gene Coleman in the 42-minute program: Biloxi’s looming annexation filing, construction throughout the city and the Planning Commission’s hearings of possible re-zoning of the former site of the Tivoli Hotel.

To listen to the program, which was taped this morning, click here.

On the air this weekend:
WLOX plans a segment on the Tivoli proposal during its “WLOX News This Week” program Saturday at 6 p.m., and Community Development Director Jerry Creel guests on WLOX’s “Sunday Night” at 10:30 to discuss rebuilding issues.

News and notes

Tropical and topical: Residents are encouraged to continue to watch news reports this weekend regarding Hurricane Dean. For information on how you should prepare for threatening storms, and to see real-time radar and National Hurricane Center advisories, visit the city’s online storm center. To go there, click here.

Remembering Camille: Mayor A.J. Holloway joined leaders from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and a handful of visitors for a noontime ceremony at the Hurricane Camille memorial to commemorate the anniversary of the Category 5 storm that struck the community on Aug. 17, 1969. To see a gallery of photos from today, along with background on the memorial itself and artist Elizabeth Veglia, click here.

Remembering Katrina: Bishop Thomas Rodi will join other religious leaders and the Our Mother of Sorrows Choir for the city’s half-hour Katrina ceremony Aug. 29 on the Biloxi Town Green. The city-commissioned documentary “Katrina & Biloxi” will also air the morning and evening of Aug. 29 to Cable One subscribers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Read more about that project in a postcard that will soon be sent to Biloxi residents. See it by clicking here.

Weekend preview: For a look at the lineup of things to see and do, courtesy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.