Gilich applauds first installment for broadband initiative

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said he was pleased to see Gov. Phil Bryant include $5 million of his pledged $15 million for broadband expansion among the monies designated for recovery projects from the BP oil spill.

The governor announced Wednesday at a news conference that $54 million in projects had been selected for funding from the BP catastrophe damage award.

The $5 million will be used to assist a timely delivery of ultra-high speed internet across the Mississippi Coast. Last month, Biloxi, Gulfport and D’Iberville created a Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative to help create a more timely, affordable, redundant and universal delivery of ultra-high speed internet to the Coast. Pass Christian and Long Beach have now joined the GCBI, which is expected to eventually include all 12 Coast municipalities and the three counties.

Gilich, who developed software for agencies across the country before becoming mayor, has made faster online service an economic development and quality of life issue since he became mayor seven months ago. He worked with Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes to create the GCBI, which has received approval from the State Attorney General.

“It’s great that the governor followed through with this first installment,” Gilich said, “and now our goal is to bring all the other cities on board. The governor knows this is an important issue and he knows the benefits for education, medical and all sectors of our economy.” Upon announcing the first $5 million, Governor Bryant added that he expected an additional amount of at least $10 million more.

Special presentation: Members of the Gulf Coast Business Council masters class will discuss the benefits of ultra high-speed Internet service during the Biloxi City  Council meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Biloxi City Hall.
Learn more about the broadband initiative


Forum to help identify historic buildings in Division, Main area

Local and community leaders are asking for the public’s help in identifying historic structures in the Division and Main streets.

A community forum will be held Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows School, 800 Division St.

“This is an area that has been considered historic for a long time and it’s time to recognize it,” said Bill Raymond, historic administrator for the city.  “We want to preserve and tell the story of these buildings and of the community.”

The goal of the forum is to collect information from the public about historic buildings along Division and Main streets so that they can be evaluated for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.  Once a building is placed on the National Register, it would become eligible for preservation grants and tax credits.

The forum is being sponsored by the City of Biloxi, East Biloxi Community Collaborative, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and the Biloxi branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Print a flyer about the forum


Popp’s Ferry widening remains on track

The project to widen the final mile-long stretch of Popp’s Ferry Road between Cedar Lake and the D’Iberville city limits remains on schedule for a summertime opening.

Contactors last week activated new traffic signals at Cedar Lake and Popp’s Ferry roads, and drainage is 80 percent complete on the project. All sewer has been installed west of Motsie Road, and after the first of the year motorists will see crews installing curbs and gutters to show the width of the new four-lane roadway.

“This mile-long stretch of Popp’s Ferry will have more of a boulevard feel,” Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols said. “You’ll see a 16-foot-wide center median and travel lanes that will go from two-way traffic covering 24 feet to four lanes of traffic covering 60 feet.”

A five-foot sidewalk will be constructed on the north side of the new Popp’s Ferry Road, and a 10-foot sidewalk will be constructed on the south side.

The $6.5 million project is funded mainly with Mississippi Department of Transportation funds administered through Gulf Regional Planning Commission. The project was designed by the engineering firm Neel-Schaffer and is being constructed by Lane Construction.
See the latest on streets work throughout the city


News and notes

Visitors Center Christmas items:  The Biloxi Visitors Center is now selling “Christmas in Biloxi” long-sleeve T-shirts for $30 and “Biloxi Lighthouse C-130” ornaments for $17. To see photos of the items, click here.

Sports Complex temporarily closing: The A.J. Holloway Sports Complex will be closed from Dec. 19 through Jan. 3 so that city crews can fertilize the grounds.  The complex will re-open after the school holiday on Monday, Jan. 4.