Hard Freeze Warning issued for this evening

The cold blast Biloxi residents woke up to today will cause a hard freeze this evening and into the morning, with temperatures as low as 24 expected overnight.

The National Weather Service has issued a Hard Freeze Warning, from 8 this evening until 8 Wednesday morning. The freeze, forecasters say, is expected to last 10 to 12 hours, with the hard freeze for one to two hours along the waterfront.

Biloxi Emergency Manager Nicholaus Geiser of the Biloxi Fire Department advises residents to take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. Outdoor water pipes should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly to avoid bursting. Those with in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.

Added Geiser: “Remember the Ps: Pets, plants, pipes and people.”
See the current conditions and advisories

Point Cadet Marina project awarded $3 million

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s proposed expansion and upgrade of Point Cadet Marina received a major boost from Gov. Phil Bryant Tuesday when the governor announced a $3 million RESTORE Act grant to help jumpstart the project.

Bryant announced 15 Coastwide grants totaling $53.2 million, and cited Biloxi’s award as an important piece of Gilich’s East Biloxi redevelopment efforts to stimulate tourism and economic expansion through enhanced waterfront experiences.

“Our focus in East Biloxi is designed to grow non-gaming tourism and expand the market we already command,” Gilich said. “Anything on or near the water is a win for us, and we appreciate Gov. Bryant’s recognition of, and support for our plans.”

Biloxi previously pledged up to $9 million from its Ports & Harbors fund toward the $18 million Point Cadet Marina project, which would include expanding the marina to add more slips, longer berthing spaces to accommodate larger boats, replace existing infrastructure with more functional floating docks and better amenities.

The RESTORE grant is part of the multi-year, $1.35 billion award Mississippi is receiving from the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. Biloxi also has submitted marina-funding requests to the State’s BP Economic Damages and GOMESA programs. GOMESA, which is an acronym for Gulf of Mexico Emergency Securiuty Act, is funded by oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

In his award announcement, Bryant acknowledged Gilich’s ambitious plans to re-energize East Biloxi for residents and visitors.

The Point Cadet Marina project “will support infrastructure upgrades to increase tourism activity through sport fishing events, such as the Billfish Classic, and enhance recreational opportunities,” Bryant said. “Biloxi put together a compelling package on the Marina project with detailed information that showed the economic impact an improved marina will have on Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

The $3 million RESTORE Act grant comes on the heels of two GOMESA grants that Biloxi received in October: $2.9 million for a Bayview Avenue Boardwalk along Back Bay; and $3 million for a new East Biloxi boardwalk and sand beach retention project between Oak Street and the Small Craft Harbor.

Said Gilich: “All of the grant programs are very competitive and we’ve been successful this year because our projects are of benefit not only to Biloxi, but to the Coast and the State of Mississippi as well.”

News & Notes: Council TV, weekly report, Jack

Council TV: A host of residents turned out at the City Council meeting this afternoon to speak against a proposed re-zoning of land near Circle Park to allow apartments. The item, however, had been pulled from the council agenda at the outset of the meeting. A replay of the meeting airs on BTV this evening at 9:30, with replays Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. You can also see the replay now, on the city’s YouTube page, by clicking here. To see photos from the meeting, click here.

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 127 calls for service, including 82 medical emergencies and eight fires; the Police Department handled 1,747 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 91 building permits with an overall construction valuation of more than $2 million; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the detailed reports covering last week, click here

Jack the fire dog: Jack, a year-old Dalmatian and the newest member of the Biloxi Fire Department, completed his first day at the department today. He worked to become familiar with the station, firefighters and even a couple police officers. To see more about Jack, on the Biloxi Fire Department’s Facebook page, click here.