Hard Rock opens Saturday; other news and notes

Police warn of traffic slowdown near Hard Rock

Thousands of visitors are expected at the Hard Rock’s opening ceremonies Saturday and throughout the weekend, and police are warning motorists to expect plenty of pedestrians and slow-moving traffic.

“Motorists on Highway 90 in east Biloxi should expect a lot of delays Saturday morning,” Police Chief Bruce Dunagan says of Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

“We’ll certainly have a law enforcement presence to help keep traffic moving, but what people need to realize is once that garage fills up Hard Rock, we’ll have to keep traffic moving either to the east or the north. For safety reasons, we cannot have traffic stalled on the highway.”

Dunagan also cautioned Hard Rock visitors to make certain any off-site parking is in a legal area.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of parking in legally authorized areas,” the chief said. “Do not park near yellow curbing, or near fire hydrants, on sidewalks or in any fire lanes in the Small Craft Harbor near the Hard Rock. Unfortunately, we’ll probably have a few cases when we have to ticket and tow vehicles, but we’re trying to avoid that by getting the word out beforehand.”
For more about Hard Rock, click here.

Council seeks public input for casino zoning at Tivoli site

Six of seven Biloxi City Council members on Tuesday are scheduled to introduce a resolution directing the Planning Commission to conduct public hearings to gauge reaction to re-zoning land at the former Tivoli Hotel to allow casino gaming.

The resolution is one of more than two dozen measures on the agenda for the Council’s 1:30 meeting Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

Four other zoning issues are on the agenda, including a hearing in which Walter and Katherine Blessey are seeking side-yard and overhang variances for their beachfront home.

Among the other agenda items: a visit by the Asgard Motorcycle Club, a $394,000 budget amendment to replace storm-damaged police vehicles and equipment; a $1.2 million budget amendment to replace storm-damaged firefighting equipment; and a resolution amending work on Woolmarket sewer plans to add water service north of I-10.

To read the complete agenda, click here.

News and notes

Hard rockin’ video, Part I: It was less than a month after Hurricane Katrina when construction workers at Hard Rock apparently sparked a fire while working to remove the casino resort’s collapsed gaming barge. To see video of the firefighting efforts (no audio available at the moment), and to appreciate the magnitude of the rebuilding effort, click here.

Hard rockin’ video, Part II: In another incredible Katrina story, a boat captain talks about navigating his craft, the Luna Sea, through the Hard Rock parking garage during the height of the storm. To see the video and hear the account, click here.