Gilich: We need a real solution to the sandy U.S. 90

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says Biloxi has spent nearly half a million dollars on removing sand from U.S. 90 since he took office two years ago, and this morning he told a Biloxi Chamber audience that there’s got to be a better way.

The mayor, during his 20-minute presentation, discussed progress on the city’s infrastructure work, the upcoming Conference USA baseball tournament at MGM Park, an initiative to restore the downtown strip of Howard Avenue, progress on creating a Division Street main entrance for Keesler Air Force Base, the challenges of addressing the homelessness issue, and plans to avoid massive traffic issues with spring break 2018.

But avoiding the recurring city expense of removing sand blowing from the beach onto U.S. 90 was also a topic for Gilich this morning. In fact, the mayor showed the audience poster-size photos of the generations-old front beach seawall, which rose 12 steps above the man-made sand beach.

“We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” Gilich declared to the chamber audience gathered at the Food Court at Edgewater Mall. “The answer is in science, not engineering.”

The mayor said he’s seeking advice from scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M for advice on dealing with the profile of the beach, wind and littoral drift, which is the impact that tides, breaking waves and current have on the shoreline. He plans to share that advice, he said, with Harrison County supervisors, who use local tax dollars to maintain the 26-mile-long beach.

“There’s got to be a better way,” Gilich said. “Several years ago, eight to nine million dollars was spent on replenishing the sand on the beach. Now there’s talk of spending millions more on another replenishment. Oldtimers who look at these old pictures we have here today will tell you that they never remembered sand coming up on the highway the way it does now. We need science to resolve this, not engineering.”
See images from Breakfast with the Mayor
See more about Conference USA 
See background on downtown restoration
See the May infrastructure video of progress


News and notes

Summer Party: The Parks & Recreation Department will hold its Special Needs End of School Summer Party on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center.  To see the flyer for the free event, click here

Summer Movie: The showing of “Moana,” originally scheduled for last week on the Town Green, takes place Saturday at Hiller Park. Games begin at 6 p.m. and the movie at dusk.  The original screening of the movie, part of the Parks & Recreation Department’s Summer Movie Series, was pushed back because of inclement weather. To see a preview of Saturday night at Hiller, click here.  To see the “Moana” trailer from Disney, click here.

National attention: Biloxi’s use of Cityworks, a software program that tracks work assignments, cost and inventory, is the focus of a story in InPrint, the Cityworks magazine. To read the story, which was written by Jenneth Roberts, the city’s Geographic Information Systems manager, click here.