Council approves contracts for museum, waterfront park

The City Council this afternoon approved two construction contracts totaling nearly $12 million to move forward with the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, and Biloxi Waterfront Park.

It was, Director of Administration David Staehling said, “an act of conciliation today during the City Council meeting, when we looked at the funding, we looked at the options, and we came to agreement on moving forward.”

The two projects will be funded by FEMA and insurance proceeds, and $250,000 in city funding.

The first contract approved was $7.4 million to GM&R Construction of Bay St. Louis for the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, and the second, for Biloxi Waterfront Park, was for Orocon Construction of Biloxi for $4.2 million.

Both projects will be on city property north of the Biloxi Bay Bridge and are expected to be under construction by the end of the year.

The new museum will be a 19,500-square-foot edifice whose focal point will be a historic sailing vessel that will be visible through the three-story glass wall facing the Biloxi Bay Bridge. It’s designed to play on the “ship in a bottle” concept in a building that will also feature maritime exhibits, meeting space and a seafood kitchen.

The waterfront park, meantime, will feature a pavilion, a boardwalk, splash pad and playground.

Said Staehling: “This has been one of the most complex projects that the city has undertaken post-Katrina. There was talk about moving to another site, there’s been discussion about what we could afford and what we couldn’t afford, and now we’ve overcome every obstacle, pitfall and impediment that stood in our way.”

Photos: To see photographs from today’s City Council meeting,
click here.

Joe Boney: From the front lines of the Sandy recovery

Joe Boney, the Biloxi Fire Department battalion chief who is volunteering time in the Sandy recovery zone, discussed what he and his colleagues are seeing during an interview on WLOX this afternoon.

To see the interview, courtesy of WLOX Digital Content Director Renee Johnson, click here.