Major improvement projects in works at marina, harbor

Work is expected to begin within 90 to 120 days on a city project that could see as much as $10 million in improvements at Point Cadet Marina and the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

The city has obtained permits to dredge the marina and harbor to depths of 10 to 12 feet, and plans to install concrete piers at the small craft harbor and slightly reconfigure a pier at Point Cadet Marina to allow the facility to accommodate larger vessels.

New electrical systems will be installed at Point Cadet and the small craft harbor, and electrical transformers will be elevated to FEMA’s advisory elevations.

“We’d talked about upgrading our marinas and harbors before the hurricane,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said, “and with this project, we’re going to be able to bring them back better than they were before.”

The work, which should be complete by Thanksgiving 2007, is the first phase of restoring city-owned, storm-ravaged harbors, piers and boat ramps.

“This harbor and marina project has been a time-consuming process because it required coordination and approvals from FEMA, MEMA, Mississippi Power, the Department of Marine Resource and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” Holloway said. “But the paperwork and necessary approvals have all been obtained at this point. We’ll be out for bids in January, and begin working 60 days after that.”

Before Katrina, the city’s harbors and marina provided more than 500 boat slips – 425 for recreational vessels and 87 commercial slips.

Wink Engineering is designing the bid packages and specifications for the Point Cadet and small craft harbor improvements.

At Point Cadet Marina, where work could cost between $3.5 million to $5 million, Pier C, which is the third pier from the eastern end, will be shortened to allow vessels of more than 60 feet to use Piers B and D.

At the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, where repairs could have a price tag between $3 million to $4.5 million, all slips will be re-configured, using concrete to replace the destroyed wooden piers.

A bid package for improvements at the Commercial Harbor, which adjoins the small craft harbor, is being prepared now and is expected to be out for bid in the first quarter of 2007.

Marina, harbor photos online

You can see photographs of Point Cadet Marina, taken the day before Hurricane Katrina, in the city’s online Photo Gallery. To see, click here.

To see a present-day aerial of Point Cadet Marina, click here.

To see a present-day aerial of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and adjoining Commercial Harbor, click here.

Trio of contracts awarded this week

Among the city contracts awarded this week:

—A $1.17 million project to construct eight tennis courts, with lighting, at the Biloxi Sports Complex, to Necaise Brothers Construction Co.

—A $543,000 project to construct a tennis clubhouse at the Biloxi Sports Complex, to Advance Building Specialties.

—A $116,000 project at Keegan’s Bayou, to ERS. Work will include removing collapsed bridge at mouth of bayou, and re-grading and re-planting vegetation in its place to curb soil erosion.

Webcasting: Trent Lott, visions of the future, and more

This week’s City Desk webcast, which was taped this morning, reviews U.S. Sen. Trent Lott’s address to the Biloxi Chamber’s Morning Call and the City Council action on Mayor A.J. Holloway’s proposal for the city to update its comprehensive plan.

To listen to the 30-minute program, which is hosted by newsman Gary Michiels,
click here.

News and notes

Holidays: Non-emergency municipal departments and divisions will be closed Dec. 25 and 26 in observance of Christmas.

Gaming trend: Mayor A.J. Holloway, in remarks to the Mississippi Gaming Commission this morning, noted that gross gaming revenue for September was the largest monthly figure in the history of the Biloxi gaming industry, “and the months of October and November were the largest of any October and November since gaming was legalized in 1992.” Conversely, Holloway noted, those same months of last year were the lowest in gaming history — zero revenue, in fact, owing to Hurricane Katrina closures. To see the gross gaming revenue figures for the Biloxi casino resort industry, click here.