Gilich moves forward with Round 2 of Tidelands requests

The city’s initiative to create a string of public waterfront amenities is expected to begin taking shape this summer with a West Biloxi Festival Boardwalk, and Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on Tuesday will be asking the City Council to reapply to the Mississippi Legislature for nearly $15 million in Tidelands funds.

Under the city’s ambitious plans, Gilich is seeking to create an authentic old Biloxi feel of the waterfront, creating jobs and public waterfront access through boardwalks, new and expanded marinas and water-related commerce corridors to include restaurants, waterfront pavilions and a promenade that will wrap around the peninsula from west Biloxi to Point Cadet and around to Back Bay.

“We unveiled our waterfront plans last year in applications for Tidelands and Restore Act funds,” Gilich said, “and we were pleased that the authorities who grade applications gave us high ratings for our plans, but we know things don’t happen overnight.

“We’re continuing to make the case for economic-development projects that will create jobs along our waterfront and increase tax revenue for the state of Mississippi,” Gilich added. “We’re continuing to improve waterfront access, which is what the Tidelands program is all about, and, yes, we’re continuing to point out that Biloxi generates the lion’s share of the revenue, and, as a result, should see a larger return.”

Last year the city applied for an unprecedented $14 million from the state-managed Tidelands program, where waterfront leases generate about $10 million a year; 84 percent of the revenue is generated in Biloxi.

The city was awarded $700,000 from its nearly $15 million in applications last year, and Biloxi is using that money and $300,000 from a Harrison County Tidelands application to embark on a joint project with the county that would see a festival boardwalk constructed to link the beachfront restaurants and other visitor-oriented businesses on west beach, between Rodenberg Avenue and Camellia Street, where Treasure Bay Casino Resort is located.

“We’re looking to create an entertainment district there, with pavilions and ¬†festival elements that will unify that area,” Gilich said. “It’s under design right now, with an eye to construction this summer. We’re going to take it as far as the money will go.”

The proposals Gilich is advancing to the City Council on Tuesday are seven applications total, all repeats from last year, with one addition: a million-dollar request to fund the construction of a uniform, 12-foot cement beachfront boardwalk between the Biloxi Lighthouse and DeBuys Road.

Said the mayor: “When you look at the city’s Tidelands proposals, you will see that we are looking to recapture that special Biloxi feel that we had generations ago, with a living shoreline, that invites fishing from piers, soft shelling and floundering at night, along with waterfront restaurants and other water-related businesses. We’re not creating a new Biloxi, we’re recapturing the one we all fell in love with so many years ago.”

 

The City of Biloxi’s Tidelands FY 2018 applications

  1. West Biloxi Festival Boardwalk and Boat Ramp
  2. Point Cadet Living Shoreline and Parkway
  3. Point Cadet Marina Expansion and Water’s Edge Boardwalk
  4. Tricentennial Park Public Access Improvements
  5. Biloxi Small Craft Harbor Expansion
  6. Back Bay Market Place and Marinas
  7. Pine Street Waterfront Access and Maritime Commerce Corridor

 

The Tidelands program current revenue

Incoming

Outgoing