Site work underway at Lighthouse Park

Motorists passing the Biloxi Lighthouse can see the initial site work underway on what will become Lighthouse Park, a 5.25-acre site just west of Porter Avenue and a stone’s throw from the Biloxi Lighthouse.

The new park ‚Äď a $5.2 million endeavor, which includes cost of land acquisition — will feature a children’s playground area, a pavilion to host outdoor events, additional parking for the Visitors Center and new drainage lines. The work also will restore parts of the site to their pristine state.

“The wetlands restoration is one of the most important aspects of this project,” said Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond, who also manages the Biloxi Visitors Center. “This area was a bayhead swamp, similar to Oyster Bayou behind the Beauvoir mansion. Generations ago, there was an inlet next to where the lighthouse is located, and this particular site was swampy and overgrown with vegetation. It was not underwater, but always wet.

“This project will give people a chance to see part of the ecosystem restored to its original state.”

The area also will provide needed additional parking for the Biloxi Visitors Center, which saw 125,000 pass through its doors in 2013. The facility also hosted 222 events, a 46 percent increase over 2012.

Parking will be pervious, meaning the area will not be layered in asphalt.

The current site work, being performed by Gulf Breeze Landscaping, a Gautier firm, is being funded with $1.9 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds.  The overall project has also benefited from funds obtained from the state Tidelands program and the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

Work is scheduled to be completed in January.
See a site plan and photos

 

News and notes

See Excel-lence: Excel by 5’s Biloxi Family Resource Center, 140 St. John ¬†St., ¬†will conduct an open house on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. Visitors will see a short program followed by a tour of the center and refreshments. ¬†Organizer Susan Hunt says the open house ¬†will end at noon.

Yes, Christmas already: Biloxi Main Street is seeking vendors for its 10th Annual Christmas in the City festival, which takes place  Saturday, Dec. 6. Vendors will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For an application, visit www.mainstreetbiloxi.com or contact Kay Carter Miller at kmillercarter@biloxi.ms.us or at (228) 436-6339.

Baseball trip: Main Street is coordinating a trip to Mobile on Friday to see the Biloxi-bound Stars play the Mobile Bears. The group leaves the Biloxi Visitors Center at 5:30; game begins  at 7 p.m. Details: (228) 435-6339.

Budget meeting: The City Council will conduct another in its series of budget meetings on Monday afternoon at 1:30 at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public. Departmental budgets will be discussed.  To see available budget info, click here.