Harbor work to begin next week; other news and notes

The City of Biloxi on Sept. 17 will begin a 180-day, $6.5-million project that will see the dredging and re-construction of slips in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, which has been closed to boaters since Hurricane Katrina.

The FEMA-funded work will be performed by L&A Contracting of Hattiesburg, the firm that originally constructed the harbor 35 years ago. Design and construction specifications were done by Wink Engineering of Biloxi.

As part of the work, the depth of the small craft harbor’s 141 slips will be dredged to 11 feet, and its two main east-west piers will have concrete-encased utility lines and topped with wooden decking.

The boat launch at the harbor will remain open as long as safely possible during the project.

“The contractor promises to work to keep this ramp open as long as it’s safe,” said Frankie Duggan, manager of the city’s harbors and marinas. “And when he does have to close it, he’s going to work to keep the closures to a minimum and with plenty of public notice.”

Three of Biloxi’s public docking facilities – Point Cadet Marina, the commercial docking facility adjacent to the small craft harbor, and the Lighthouse Commercial Docks on Back Bay – were operating in a makeshift fashion weeks after the storm.

“We weren’t able to provide electricity or water at the facilities, but at least it was a place for boats to tie up,” Duggan said. “Otherwise, some of these people would still be up the river – literally – which meant having no access to fuel and having to navigate several bridges and winding channels to make it to the open waters.”

Before Katrina, Biloxi offered more than 500 public slips, including 425 for recreational boaters and 91 for commercial vessels. Today, that number is 141 fewer, with the small craft harbor out of commission.

Work on rebuilding the small craft harbor’s fuel dock and bait shop, and refurbishment of the Port Division administrative offices will be included in separate projects.

Pre-, post-Katrina harbor photos online

You can see more than a hundred photos of the debris removal efforts at the small craft harbor by clicking here.

To see a November 2006 aerial of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and adjoining Commercial Harbor, click here.

Council to hear Tivoli first reading Tuesday

The proposal to re-zone land at the former site of the Tivoli Hotel to allow waterfront gaming will have its first reading before the City Council during a 1:30 meeting Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

The council is expected to vote on the issues on Sept. 18.

Also on the agenda Tuesday: a measure to allow the Katrina-destroyed VFW to relocate to the corner of Howard Avenue and Kuhn Street; a vote on the city’s FY 20087 municipal budget;

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

News and notes

Webcasting: Bay Press Editor Gene Coleman asks why Biloxi is still under a state of emergency in this week’s City Desk webcast. To hear the discussion about this and other issues, click here.

Briefly: Coast Transit Authority director Kevin Coggin reports that ridership has passed pre-Katrina levels, even with CTA’s most-popular Beachcomber line out since KatrinaThe city opens bids Wednesday for repairs to dugout and spectator roofing at the Biloxi Sports Complex … The city also this week will open bids for repairs to Station 2, the Howard Avenue fire station that sustained five feet of floodwaters in Hurricane Katrina. Bids on Station 3, at Back Bay, are expectedly shortly.