Salvation Army seeks city property to build gym

A request by the Salvation Army to acquire the former Lee Street ballpark site to construct a new gymnasium will be part of the discussion this week when the City Council holds a special meeting to consider an affordable housing initiative in east Biloxi.

The Lee Street site, immediately south of the Army-owned Yankie Stadium, had been one of three city-owned parcels that a developer had proposed buying from the city to construct affordable homes.

Salvation Army representatives are expected to address the City Council Tuesday at 10 a.m. when the City Council meets at City Hall to discuss the original housing proposal. A developer, Chartre Consulting, had suggested purchasing land to construct 125 affordable homes in east Biloxi. One of those parcels is the former site of the Lee Street ballpark.

“The Salvation Army Kroc Center has been a huge success in East Biloxi,” Maj. Rick Sturdivant of the Army wrote the city last week, but, “We still hear it from time to time about the center not being free to the children in the community.”

The Army is hoping to acquire the Lee Street site and construct a gym that would be used for free by children and adults to play basketball. During November and December each year, the gymnasium would serve as a warehouse for the Salvation Army “Angel Tree” project.

“We’re pleased to have the Salvation Army as part of the discussion,” said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich. “This housing proposal that has come to the city is just one of the elements of bringing more people and more life to east Biloxi.”

As a result of the Salvation Army request, Gerald Blessey, the city’s attorney and economic development counsel, suggested to councilmembers that they table the measure involving sale of city land, which appears on the council agenda for Tuesday afternoon.

The three city sites being proposed as part of the sale are the old City Barn site at the east end of Division Street, the site of O‚ÄôReilly Park on Division, and the old Lee Street baseball site on Esters Boulevard, south of the Kroc Center. A fourth site for the housing proposal, owned by Hope Community Development Agency, is a tract of land on Holley Street, from Division to the CSX railway, would complete the project, known collectively as ‚ÄúPoint Cadet Place.‚ÄĚ

The city would be selling 14 acres of land for $523,500.

The homes, which would be elevated with parking underneath would be three and four bedrooms with 1,450 and 1,520 square feet, respectfully, and would have an average sales price of about $155,000.
Read the Salvation Army letter
See the council agendas and supporting documents


News and notes

Thank you, Pokemon Go ¬†players: ¬†The two weddings this weekend at the Biloxi Visitors Center went off without a hitch, so to speak, with Pokemon Go gamers confining gaming to the nearby Biloxi Lighthouse and south of U.S. 90. Said Amanda Boudreaux Williams, the city’s ¬†special events coordinator: “They were very respectful and stayed off the Visitors Center property until after the wedding celebrations had ended. In fact, there was a countdown on the Facebook page for Pokemon Go South MS. It counted down the time before they could return to the lawn. We’re very appreciative of their efforts.”

Traffic update:  To see the status of road work throughout the city, click here.
Video of progress: Have you see the new Oscar Renda video providing a status report on east Biloxi infrastructure work?  Take a couple of minutes and give it a look. Click here.