Plans being drawn up now for Saenger rehabilitation

As part of the City’s efforts to redevelop downtown Biloxi, the Saenger Theater and Community Center is benefitting from a multi-phased, comprehensive rehabilitation.  Phase One, in the design stage, includes ADA access improvements and critically-needed exterior repairs to allow this public resource to serve the needs of area neighbors as a public meeting and activity center and to continue serving the community through educational, cultural and performing arts programs.

“The comprehensive assessment and design work for needed repairs to the Sanger should be complete by Dale Partners by the end of this calendar year,” said Chief Administrative Office Mike Leonard. “Once that is done, we will take bids for the exterior work.” Work in Phase one includes ADA access improvements, replacement of the roof and rooftop air conditioning units and repairs to the entrance awnings.  The exterior brick will be waterproofed to reduce the moisture seepage into interior walls.

A Mississippi Department of Archives and History grant was leveraged with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development CDBG Entitlement funds; additional federal, state and private foundation grants are being pursued to fund the next phases of the rehabilitation, which will include the interior.

Mayor Gilich has made it clear that rehabilitating the Saenger Theater and Community Center is a key part of the overall downtown redevelopment effort.  Community benefits from this public facility have expanded to include its use as a voting precinct and as a neighborhood facility for public meetings and activities. 

Low- to moderate-income residents who live in the same census block as the facility not only will have access to free meeting space for public meetings, but will receive discounted admission when it’s rented for performances and programs.  Once Phase One rehabilitation activities are implemented, a specific number of free tickets will be required as part of each contract for Saenger Theater and Community Center rental and will be made available to the low- to moderate-income residents in the service area to satisfy requirements for use of federal grant funds.  Biloxi residents who are senior citizens also will receive discounted admission.

Gilich held the 2017 city inauguration at the city-owned public facility to draw attention to the challenges of downtown redevelopment efforts.
See news story on Saenger plans
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