Weekend preview: Sports Hall to welcome six

The Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame will induct six new members during a ceremony Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Biloxi Civic Center.

The Class of 2018 is Eric Fortenberry, who former Indians basketball coach Laird called “one of the best Biloxi players of all time,” along with baseball standout Glenn Lamas and former football stars Johnny “Red” Wetzel, Art Bressler, Marvin “Bubba” Dickey and the late Mark Barhanovich.

Also this weekend: A Special Needs Back-to-School Hoorah Dance will be held this evening from 6 to 9 at the Snyder Community Center. Those attending the free event should wear their favorite sports jersey. Elsewhere, you’ll find Billy Currington, Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell in town.
See the overall weekend lineup
Meet the Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2018


Big issues on City Council agenda Tuesday

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich next week will be asking the City Council to move forward on a host of high-profile issues that have been in the works for months and, in some cases, years.

When the council meets on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the agenda includes an Administration proposal establishing a downtown housing incentive program.  The first step involves Fritz Development creating two housing units. Gilich says the program could finally trigger a significant repopulation effort downtown, which has been discussed by the city for years.

Additionally, the agenda includes hiring of a contractor for the second downtown pedestrian overpass, which would connect the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and adjoining restaurants and casinos with two hotels and restaurants north of U.S. 90.

Other measures on the agenda involve leasing the city-owned Magnolia Hotel to Jourdan Nicaud, a Coast restaurateur, in an arrangement similar to the one executed for the old Biloxi Public Library; and, finally, the mayor is asking the City Council to move forward with establishing just compensation, about $1.45 million, involving nine parcels of land for the new Division Street Keesler gate corridor.
See the City Council agenda and supporting documents


New walkway in the works north of harbor

The new pedestrian bridge at U.S. 90 and Caillavet Street – linking the Beau Rivage employee parking garage and the Beau Rivage itself – will begin taking shape over the highway in a few months, and about that time, the City of Biloxi will begin work on a second U.S. 90 pedestrian overpass, west of Main Street.

The new project will connect the two new hotels under construction north of the busy roadway with the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and the nearby Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. 

The city next week is expected to award a $2.4 million contract for the new walkway, which will be built near the new Watermark and Hilton Garden Inn hotels on the north side and just west of Guice Park on the south side of the highway. The new bridge is expected to be complete as soon as July 2019. MDOT, by the way, reports that the walkway at Caillavet is expected to be completed in January, a month later than originally scheduled, because of weather delays.

Each of the walkways was designed by Leigh Jaunsen of the firm Dale Parters, and each has stairs and elevators at both ends.

The Caillavet Street walkway, part of the original MGM Park contract, is being funded by the state, and the harbor walkway is being overseen by the city and funded with money collected through a countywide port bond.
See day and night renderings of the new walkway
See the walkway resolution on the council agenda


Waffle House plans unique look at new site

Waffle House is big on Biloxi – covered, smothered and chunked, in the hash browns vernacular – but the company’s fifth location will be off the menu.

That’s because the new location, on U.S. 90 just west of Bellman Street, is in a Biloxi historic district and Waffle House developers answered Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s call for something special.

As a result, the new restaurant will be swathed in brick – some say it was inspired by the brick work at downtown’s Patio 44 – and it will have an “old Biloxi” feel through the use of historic photos. Since it’s in a  a flood-hazard area, it’s elevated about six feet above ground, with convenient ramps and stairs.

“I’ve gotten a couple different stories about the elevation,” said Community Development Director Jerry Creel. “One company representative told me that this is the first, and the other told me this is the second.

“Regardless, the Waffle House designers have done something special for this location. This is not the first one of brick. All the Waffle Houses have brick, but this is the first one to use brick so extensively.”

Waffle House construction crews are winding down the remodeling of an Ocean Springs location before beginning work on the Biloxi site.

The abundance of Waffle House locations in Biloxi — primarily on U.S. 90 and a couple on west beach within blocks of each other — is a matter of popularity and economics.

“Unless something has changed recently,” Creel said, “the location on Reynoir Street is the second busiest Waffle House in the country. It’s second only to the location at Georgia Tech University.

“In fact, the Reynoir Street location is still No. 1 in the country for the first shift, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., but, to be honest, Waffle House has found that anytime is a good time to be in Biloxi.”
Gallery: See the Waffle House and other development


News and notes

Construction update: Have you seen the latest progress video from Oscar Renda? Beginning with this month’s video, Hemphill Construction, which is handling work south of the railway, is part of this monthly video. To see the report and detailed maps, click here.

Overall street work: Each weekday morning the city updates the status of roadwork in the Traffic Update. To see the report, click here.

CAO on development: Mike Leonard, the city’s chief administrative officer, has a host of things to talk about on WLOX News This Week Sunday morning, but only limited time. See Leonard on the program Sunday morning at 8:30 on WLOX ABC. For background on the city’s latest wave of development, click here.