What you didn’t hear in the State of the City

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, not unlike former Mayor A.J. Holloway, wants a State of the City presentation that is as concise as possible, an economy of words, but still conveying a message. The message this year: Biloxi has a lot happening and it’s “happening now.”

Gilich’s presentation – which airs hourly on Cable One Channel 69 in Biloxi beginning at 1 p.m. today – was highlighted by a 24-minute video updating myriad construction projects and initiatives across the city, along with achievements of city departments and divisions.  The mayor also made opening and closing remarks from the podium, to standing ovations.

For the sake of brevity, some milestones fail to be included in the final presentation each year.

Herewith, a few of the morsels that you didn’t hear in the State of the City 2018, but nonetheless worthy of note:

Movie theater: Later this year, Edgewater Mall will see the opening of an eight-screen, state-of-the-art digital movie theater at the former Sears location.  The theater will be operated by Texas-based Premiere Cinemas and will feature luxury recliner seats. To see the details and a rendering, click here.

Walk-in Sonic:  A walk-in Sonic, only the second of its kind in Mississippi, opened for business last year on Pass Road, at in the former Backyard Burger location.

City department moves:  The mayor mentioned the opening of Le Cafe Beignet Shop in the old Biloxi library on Lameuse, but to make that move happen, the city’s Accounting Division relocated to the third floor of the U.S. Post Office on Main Street.  The city’s Human Resources Division is also on that floor, having relocated from City Hall.

Updated city phone system: The city is saving about $2,000 a month on its phone bill thanks to a new state-of-the-art phone system, or Voice over Internet Protocol system, that the city’s Information Systems Division has installed in all city departments. The new service, which also includes email, replaced the antiquated network infrastructure.

Lighthouse visitors:  Last year, 2,649 people climbed the steps to the top of the Biloxi Lighthouse, an increase of more than six percent  from 2016.

Seafood and Ohr visitors:  Last year the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum saw more than 25,000 visitors and event participants, and the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, which had been operating without its fire-ravaged welcome center, saw more than 11,000 visitors.

Fire upgrades:  You heard about the new fire boat now being built, but the Biloxi Fire Department is in the process of replacing its 17-year-old Breathing Air Unit, with one that will provide an endless supply of breathing air in the field.  This will be the first of its kind in Mississippi.

Senior citizen center: The Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department, along with Harrison County, opened a new center citizen center on Parker Street, on Back Bay, in the former health department building.

Bike share: The city’s bike share program, with locations at MGM Park and the Biloxi Visitors Center, will be branching out to Keesler Air Force Base.

Bomb squad recognized: The Biloxi Bomb Squad, one of only four in the state, was recognized by the FBI, ATF, and the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security as the premier bomb unit in the state. 

Biloxi VA: You saw an aerial image of the Biloxi Veterans Administration Medical Center, but last year the Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, as it is officially known, also opened its first Tele-Intensive Care Unit at the Biloxi site.
Video:  See the State of the City (desktop or tablet only)
Gallery: See photos from the State of the City
Handout:  See the State of the City handout
City Desk: Hear the mayor’s thoughts on his presentation