Council to hear Boomtown case; other news and notes

Representatives of Boomtown Casino will be asking the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday to re-zone 11.25 acres of land on Back Bay – 39 parcels in all – from single family residential and general business to waterfront, which would allow casino gaming.

The meeting, which takes place at City Hall, begins at 1:30 p.m.

Since Hurricane Katrina, Boomtown has acquired 23 acres of land near its Back Bay site and will soon begin working on its master planning for its future growth.

Tuesday’s meeting will include 13 measures in all, including requests by Mayor A.J. Holloway that the council approve more than $123,000 in vehicle purchases for the city’s Community Development and Public Works departments.

The meeting also will include the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the re-zoning of part of nearly 20 acres of land off Veterans Avenue north of the CSX railway. The rezoning – from community business and general commercial to hospitality business – is being requested by RW Development as part of its multi-million-dollar development proposed along the Veterans Avenue corridor.

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

Highwater marks throughout the city

The city’s Community Development Department, using contour and high-water marks provided by FEMA, has created a list of Katrina water marks at various locations throughout the city.

“People often hear how high the water was above sea level, but that doesn’t really mean anything to residents who don’t live near the waterfront,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “What this report shows is the height of the water above ground, according to FEMA, at more than 70 locations throughout the city.”

Highest levels in the report: 17.79 feet above ground, which was recorded on U.S. 90 between Lee and Caillavet streets

Holloway said the city plans to mark various locations over the next several weeks “to illustrate for visitors the dramatic water levels we sustained, and remind residents just how far the water moved across the city.”

Community Development staffer Eric Nolan plotted more than 70 watermarks at key locations in the city using FEMA contour maps and FEMA highwater marks.

To see the complete list and its methodology, click here.

Tree sculptor wrapping up on Beach Boulevard

Dayton Scoggins, the Mississippi-born chainsaw artist whom the city commissioned to create sculptures from standing dead trees on Beach Boulevard, is wrapping up three days of work this afternoon on his latest project: a pod of dolphins on a 15-foot tree on U.S. 90 east of St. George.

To see his progress through mid-morning today, click here.

Storm preparedness newsletters on the way

The city’s annual Storm & Flood Preparedness guide is on the way to more than 24,000 property owners throughout the city.

Knight-Abbey Printing and Direct Mail delivered copies of the 12-page mailout to the U.S. Postal Service this afternoon.

The guide offers tips on how to prepare for the 2007 hurricane season, which begins today. An online version of the information was published last week. To see the guide, which is in the storm info section of the city’s web site, click here.

News and notes

A Blessed weekend: The events surrounding this weekend’s Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet get underway this evening with a reception honoring past Blessing royalty. For details on celebration, click here.

Webcasting: Bay Press Editor Gene Coleman asks questions about the issues du jour in the weekly “City Desk” webcast. To listen, click here.

Traffic work:
MDOT advises motorists to proceed with caution on the I-110 highrise and at the I-110 off ramp at U.S. 90, where crews continue to make repairs to street-light wiring.

Dickey returns: The invocation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting is scheduled to be delivered by the Rev. Eric Dickey of First Missionary Baptist Church, and a former Ward 2 councilman.