Hiller Park welcomes holidays this weekend

Hiller Park ushers in the holidays Saturday with a daylong “Spirit of Christmas at Hiller Park” celebration at the Barbara Ferrill Softball Fields.

This first-year event, organized by the Friends of Hiller Park Committee, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a children’s area filled with games, arts and crafts area, a bounce house and other attractions. Vendors will be set up along the fields at 1940 Edgers Road selling arts, crafts and food.

Three other community events are planned to commemorate the Christmas holidays: Excel by 5’s “Come Learn with Santa,” where toddlers will learn to decorate ornaments and other activities Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Lopez School; a Christmas Open House at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and a Christmas brunch on Sunday at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.
See the city’s Christmas calendar
See the overall weekend entertainment lineup


Council to consider infrastructure, financial oversight

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will ask the City Council on Tuesday to consider action on a number of big-ticket issues: improving oversight of the ongoing federally funded infrastructure projects, better monitoring of city finances and speeding up the process of paying contractors working on infrastructure work.

The mayor has called a workshop for 10:30 Tuesday morning to discuss the issues with the City Council, in advance of the council’s 1:30 afternoon meeting, where councilmembers will be asked to vote on the issues. The morning and afternoon meetings will be at City Hall and are open to the public.

With federal funding for the contract with infrastructure program manager HNTB expected to run out early next year, Gilich is seeking to upgrade the city’s Engineering Division, currently a branch of the Public Works Department, into a full-fledged Engineering Department to accommodate an expanded role in overseeing the $355 million Restore Biloxi infrastructure work.

In the area of city finances, the mayor suggests the city hire a Certified Public Accountant to oversee the city’s finances, as has been recommended in previous city audits.

And he’s asking the City Council to authorize the borrowing of $7 million to help close the gap in the 90-plus-day FEMA process in paying contractors working on the city’s infrastructure project.

In addition to those issues, the City Council during its 1:30 meeting will see the first of two readings of an ordinance that proposes to increase development standards from the current 25-year drainage design to a 100-year standard, a measure designed to improve drainage on new construction.

The council also will consider a short-term rental ordinance, proposed subdivisions of 87 lots off Old Highway 67 and 131 lots off Lorraine Road, approving a seasonal fireworks outlet on Shriners Boulevard, and okaying $1,500 for the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum for a New Year’s Eve “Oyster Ball Drop.”

The council’s agenda, in all, contains more than two dozen resolutions, a trio of departmental reports, and a report on the benefits of ultra high-speed internet service, to be presented by the Gulf Coast Business Council’s masters class.
See the agendas and supporting documents


City Desk: New hotel, Woolmarket plans and Scarlet Pearl

Did you know the city has sold a beachfront parcel of land to make way for a new hotel? You can hear about that, along with a status report on other hotel projects, plans for Woolmarket and the city’s reaction to the opening of the Scarlet Pearl in D’Iberville in this week’s City Desk podcast.
Listen to the 12-minute program


News and notes

Development report: The Development Review Committee this week OK’d the site plan for a 12,000 square-foot professional and retail center proposed for the northwest corner of Lorraine and Woolmarket roads. The Community Development Department, meantime, completed a review of plans for a Biloxi Natatorium addition that would include a classroom, additional restrooms, concession area and storage. The department received plans for two new single-family homes and issues building permits for two single-family homes.

Broadband progress: The Mississippi Secretary of State this week certified the interlocal agreement for the Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative, a project, by the way, that now has the endorsement of all five municipalities in Harrison County. The secretary of state has recorded the interlocal agreement in his office’s Records of Incorporation. The state Attorney General OK’d the measure weeks ago.

DRC agenda: RW Development, which owns Big Play entertainment center at U.S. 90 and Veterans Avenue, will have four cases before the Development Review Committee next week, including plans for an “inflatable water park.” To see the DRC agenda, click here.