Council to get new look at Margaritaville

It probably won’t be discussed when the City Council meets Tuesday night, but the council’s agenda includes an update on plans for the much-anticipated expansion of Margitaville resort and hotel property in East Biloxi.

Developers, in their first official notice to councilmembers, are seeking a Master Plan Amendment, which will outline locations of the new amenities at the Point Cadet site. Councilmembers are expected to vote on the measure at their meeting on July 16. It’s on the Tuesday night agenda because it’s an ordinance, which requires two appearances on a council agenda before being decided.

The Margaritaville measure is one of more than three dozen issues before the council, which has not met since June 18. A host of agenda items involve current projects throughout the city, including the new Keesler entrance and the Popp’s Ferry Road extension to U.S. 90. The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Also on the agenda is a proposal from the Gilich administration that would increase the annual per-gaming device fee that casino operators pay to $200, from its current level of $150 a year. The fee, which currently generates $1.3 million a year, would generate another $300,000 a year.

The Margaritaville measure, would outline the expansion to the existing 373-room hotel, family entertainment center, which includes three restaurants, indoor zipline and 40-foot-tall rock-climbing wall with a volcano motif.

“The Margaritaville Amusement Park is on the council agenda because the proposed project is an expansion of their existing footprint,” said Community Development Director Jerry Creel. “Under the Land Development Ordinance, such an expansion is considered to be an amendment to their current Master Plan, and as such requires a public hearing before the Planning Commission, and final approval by the City Council. The Public Hearing was held on June 6, 2019 and the  Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.

“Tuesday is only the first reading, so no action should be taken by the City Council. The actual vote should be taken on Tuesday, July 16. If the City Council votes to approve the project, the developer will submit construction plans for our review, and a building permit will be issued.”

Margaritaville’s Phase 2 would include a concrete deck with two levels of parking and an outdoor amusement deck on the upper level. The amusement deck will feature a 170-foot high Ferris wheel with enclosed air-conditioned gondolas; an Aerobar, which is a 125-foot slow-moving observation ride; bumper cars; and several other amusement rides. Also, permanently fixed “food trucks” with concessions will be on the deck, and along the water will be an upper “boardwalk” at the Amusement Deck level as well as a boardwalk at water level with full public access.

Phase 3 of the development includes an additional hotel with about 316 rooms, 58,000 square feet of meeting/convention space and spaces for additional retail and restaurants.
See the latest renderings of Margaritaville expansion
See the council meeting agenda and supporting documents

July Fourth: Fireworks lineup and other info

A trio of fireworks shows will herald the Fourth of July in Biloxi. The first show will be on Wednesday at MGM Park, when the Shuckers, who will be wrapping up a homestand against the Mobile BayBears, will present their largest fireworks show of the year.

The city-sponsored front beach show, which is supported by a host of businesses, takes place on Thursday, Independence Day, at 9 p.m. The show is presented from a barge inside Deer Island. Fireworks fans, by the way, will again be able to enjoy the presentation on east beach without the fear of being hit with fireworks. A fireworks-free zone will occupy the mile-long stretch area between Oak Street and the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

Then on Saturday at 9 p.m., Scarlet Pearl and the IP casino resorts will present a show over Biloxi’s Back Bay. Best viewing is from locations near either the Scarlet Pearl or IP.

The Fourth of July also impacts schedules:

Public transit: Coast Transit Authority will have Sunday schedule service on the Fourth of July holiday, Thursday. Normal service will resume Friday. CTA administrative offices will close Wednesday at 4 p.m. and will re-open on Monday at 4 p.m.

City offices: Non-emergency Biloxi municipal offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Pick-up service: The Harrison County Utility Authority has announced that garbage, recycling and trash service will remain on its usual schedule. 
See the lineup of events

News & notes: Weekly review, traffic update

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 161 calls for service, including 108 medical emergencies and six fires; the Police Department handled 2,028 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 60 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $650,000; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here. 

Traffic update: To see the latest on streetsa and drainage work throughout the city, click here.

Take 2: Another night of BTV testing

Biloxi native Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America 1969, tells the story of the Biloxi Lighthouse in a 2004 documentary airing this evening on BTV: Biloxi Television, the city’s burgeoning TV channel now carried on Sparklight (formerly Cable One) Channel 56 in Biloxi.

In all, nearly six hours of programming are scheduled to air as part of continuing tests of BTV, mostly consisting of documentaries and video shorts created by the city. Full-length recordings of recent city events also are included. Most also are available on demand on the city’s YouTube channel.

Here’s a list of the BTV programming scheduled to air this evening:

6 p.m.: “Know Your Biloxi,” a 57-minute compilation of videos that are shown daily in the Biloxi Visitors Center. Included in the mix is a nine-minute day-in-the-life-of-Biloxi that begins with early morning images and wraps up with evening video.

7 p.m.: “Know Your Biloxi Lighthouse,” a series of video vignettes about Biloxi’s signature landmark. Included in the 20-minute collection is the 12-minute documentary narrated by the former Miss America.

7:30 p.m.: Road update and Biloxi by Air. See the latest from contractors working on east Biloxi infrastructure, and a 17-minute collection of aerial views of various sites in Biloxi.

8 p.m.: “Downtown Development Initiative.” See the recent Main Street Biloxi program that focused on downtown Biloxi. The program runs one hour and 48 minutes.

10 p.m.: Biloxi City Council meeting of June 18. The meeting, which ran nearly two hours, included a presentation about the Saenger Theatre by Biloxian Gwen Gollotte.

BTV, the commercial-free city channel, is currently testing programming on Sparklight Channel 56. A regular lineup of programming will be announced later this summer, when BTV also joins the AT&T Uverse lineup in Biloxi, on Channel 99.