Cruisin’ sees a new downtown in the making

About 40,000 auto enthusiasts were in downtown Biloxi Tuesday for the city’s annual Cruisin’ The Coast Block Party, and Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said the audience and the 1,700 to 2,000 vehicles on display got a close up look at the changing downtown landscape.

Cruisers began arriving as early as 3 a.m. to vie for cherished premium parking locations among the half-dozen streets closed for the affair. Prime location for many: In the shade at City Hall, where dozens gathered on the marble front steps or in the shade of nearby oaks to watch Elvis performer Garry Wesley.

But in addition to the Town Green and major thoroughfares, Cruisers were able to park at the former site of the old federal courthouse, high profile land that will become the future Biloxi presence of Community Bank.

“I think about 250 cars were able to park there nicely,” said Gilich. “That was great because we lost the great parking on Main Street where Patio 44 and Mugshots are located now. The landscape was different but it was still a great party.

“And of course many saw the new bricks going down on Howard and were anticipating being a part of that.”

Police reported no arrests, and no cars were towed, compared to six that were towed last year for blocking traffic well after the block party had ended at 2 p.m.

“It’s been great,” Police Chief John Miller said. “They talked about capping the number of Cruisers a few years ago, but really how can you cap an event like this? We’re accommodating and we love a good party in Biloxi, and they know that, as long as we do it safely.”

Biloxi Public Works crews on Tuesday night about 11 began placing traffic cones in the center lanes of U.S. 90 between DeBuys Road to I-110 for westbound traffic or to White Avenue for eastbound traffic, in the event that inside lanes might have to be reserved for emergency vehicles.

“The traffic cones are an integral part of all of our traffic plans,” Miller said, “and we’re hoping that we don’t even have to reserve a lane. All lanes are open right now, and as long as traffic keeps moving we’ll be able to respond to any issue, especially medical ones. For Scrapin’ we didn’t even have to shut down a lane.”

Miller even noted that the even cones shouldn’t damage any of the well-kempt, finely tuned, antique, classic or street rods cruising U.S. 90. Said the chief: “There’s no steel in the roadway. It’s only rubber.”
See photos from the downtown party
See the Cruisin’ traffic plan
See the Cruisin’ website


Biloxi chief elected head of Southeastern group

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, who has led Biloxi’s department for nine of his 28 years with the city, has been elected chairman of the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, an agency that serves a network of 1,400 law enforcement agencies across the Southeast and in U.S. territories.

“This agency is about better law enforcement,” said Miller, who joined in 2008 and was a board member and vice president before being named chairman last week. “It provides a wealth of services that some departments might not be able to afford – some law enforcement agencies are as few as 10 people — and it also shares information and services for all law enforcement agencies.”
Read the full story


News & Notes: City Desk, city council, tree committee, Natatorium hours

City Desk:  This week’s edition of the City Desk podcast was recorded Wednesday morning from Biloxi City Hall during the Downtown Biloxi Block Party.  Hear from Bill Raymond about the increased visitors in town and from Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on the block party and city issues.  To listen, click here

City council: The Biloxi City Council held its first meeting of October 2018 Tuesday evening at Biloxi City Hall where they addressed a number of issues. To see the complete video of the meeting, click here.

Tree committee meetings:  The Tree Committee meets on the second Monday of each month at the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, 769 Howard Ave. The meetings are open to the public and the agendas and minutes are posted online.  To see more about the Tree Committee, click here.

Natatorium hours:  The Biloxi Natatorium, the city-owned Olympic size swimming pool open year round, has changed to its fall hours of operation.  The pool is open weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. for ages 18 and older and 4 to 8 p.m. for ages 17 and younger and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. for all ages.  The weekend hours may change throughout the year based on staffing. To see more about the Biloxi Natatorium, click here