Mayor seeks joint planning for prime Point Cadet site

There was a time, back in the day, when the easternmost tip of Point Cadet, the present-day area between the Golden Nugget and Biloxi Bay Bridge, was home to a host of seafood factories, piers with working shrimp boats and an area generally bustling with waterfront activity.

It was the epicenter of a community once known as “the Seafood Capital of the World,” and now Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is asking a number of partners to work together in planning to transform the present-day vacant land into an inviting public use that will help grow the resurging oyster seafood industry and develop the recreational fishing tournament industry.

It would be a tourism-friendly atmosphere that would transform an otherwise dormant piece of property into an open-air market where visitors could see the Oyster Aquaculture & Conservation Center and the offloading of oysters from natural reefs and aquaculture farms perhaps south of Deer Island, buy fresh oysters and seafood in a Mississippi Seafood Marketplace, or walk along an already-funded water’s edge boardwalk by an expanded Point Cadet Marina that would be home to a Deep Sea Fishing Conservation and Tournament Center where larger vessels could take part in world-class deep sea fishing tournaments in the Gulf area.

It’s an ambitious vision that would require the planning efforts of the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources, which unanimously embraced the idea last week, and a host of others, including the three landlords of the property — the city, the Institutions of Higher Learning and University of Southern Mississippi, and the Mississippi Secretary of State.

Mayor Gilich tasked former Mayor Gerald Blessey, the city’s Counsel for Economic Development, to lead the city’s joint planning for the combined projects. Blessey last week found unanimous support for the joint planning idea from the Commission on Marine Resources. The CMR, during its November meeting last week, directed the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to be a part of the planning process.

“This would be a great way to mix commercial fishing with the tourism industry,” said CMR Chairman Steve Bosarge. “This project would allow people to see how oysters are harvested and how great they taste. It’s a great opportunity for fishermen and a chance to promote Mississippi seafood.”

Today, Gilich and Blessey briefed the City Council on the idea of the joint planning initiative.

“This project idea takes advantage of the synergy that we’re seeing on so many levels,” Gilich said. “We are already doing the design work on the already-funded boardwalk. There’s huge interest in the resurgence of the oyster industry on Back Bay and possibly creating oyster farms south of Deer Island, and we’ve seen the huge popularity of the world-class fishing tournaments hosted at Point Cadet.

“What I’m hoping we can do is have some joint planning between the city and our public and private partners on the state and local levels, and transform this attractive yet vacant piece of property into something really special, something with vitality that is tied to our past and to our future.”
See an aerial of the overall Point Cadet area
See an idea for the elements of the Point Cadet initiative
See a draft of the measure passed unanimously by the Commission on Marine Resources


News and notes: Council images, bmail monthly bids, Christmastime happenings

Biloxi City Council: Members of the City meet today for a regular meeting followed by a special-call meeting were the public commented on the panhandling issues and revised licensing procedures.  Both meetings were held at the Biloxi City Hall.  To see images from the meeting, click here

Last call: The deadline for sealed bids for Bmail and BmailMonthly is Wednesday at 10 a.m. The bids to be a part of this innovative online and direct mail opportunity must be received by then at the second floor of Biloxi City Hall. For more information, click here

We’ve got a list: We’ve checked it twice and its your guide to Christmastime happenings in Biloxi. To check it out for yourselves, click here