Holloway sets tone for New Year

Mayor A.J. Holloway, wrapping up the first week of the New Year, said that 2011 should be a productive year for the city, “a year of accomplishment.”

Said Holloway:

“I think 2011 stands to be a great year in a number of ways. First, we’ll be formally dedicating two of our largest undertakings, the Lighthouse Park and Visitors Center, which will be more of a museum about Biloxi and the Gulf Coast, and we’ll be opening a new library and civic center in east Biloxi, which will be more of a convention center for the eastern end of town.

“Then over on the west end of town, we’ll see the new Walmart Supercenter breaking ground west of Edgewater Mall. I think this is not just going to be about a Walmart opening, but it’s going to be a catalyst for growth of new retail and food and beverage in and around Edgewater Mall, and we’ll see new roads built to improve the flow of traffic in that area.

“All of these issues are economic development. Tourism has been and continues to be our niche in Biloxi, and I think we’ll see that continue. Word will continue to spread about the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. With the $45 million expansion at the Palace Casino Resort on Point Cadet, I think we’ll see other casino resorts make improvements and announce expansions. I’m optimistic about what we’re seeing in the gaming revenue figures. We haven’t turned the corner yet, but we’re getting there.

“Right now, we have more than $200 million worth of growth either under construction or in the works in Biloxi, and we’re seeing hundreds of million of dollars more at the VA in Biloxi. We’ve already seen massive improvements at Keesler. All of this means jobs, and quality of life, and economic development.

“And, finally, in the midst of it all, we’ll be launching construction on our $355 million in infrastructure repairs in the first quarter of 2011, and we expect to make tremendous progress on rebuilding or repairing more than 100 miles of streets in Biloxi, from below the ground up. It’s a massive job, and one that has been exacerbated by the unprecedented size and scope of the work and the federal regulations. But the fact of the matter is this: We’ll have brand new streets and drainage, sidewalks and curbing and water and sewer – all in place and ready to go once this economy turns around, and it will turn around.

“I see 2011 as being a very productive and very busy year. It will be a year of accomplishment.”

News and notes

Weekend preview: To see this weekend’s entertainment lineup, courtesy of listings from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

On the waterfront: The city is hoping for a favorable review from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources for plans to restore and upgrade the launch at Kuhn Street in east Biloxi. To read more about the project, click here.

Making history: Circle Feb. 21-23 on your calendars. That’s when the Mississippi Gulf Coast Historical Society observes History Week at the Frank Gruich Community Center in east Biloxi. For details on the event, and to see photographs from last year’s observance,
click here.

Council schedule: The Biloxi City Council’s next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Traffic Update: Each weekday morning, the Public Works Department provides a status report on road work in and around the city. To see the latest, click here.