What you need to know about today’s dedications

The city will dedicate two of its largest post-Katrina projects this afternoon, the visitors center at Lighthouse Park, and the Biloxi Civic Center, which is on Howard Avenue.

The visitors center will be dedicated in a 4 p.m. ceremomy that will be followed by public tours of the 24,000-square-foot facility and free servings of boiled shrimp and Barq’s Root Beer.

The civic center will be dedicated in a 6:30 p.m. ceremony, which will be followed by an evening of local culinary delights and dancing music by Biloxi’s Gary Gino and the Crawlers.

Both ceremonies are free and open to the public.

Park at the Howard Avenue site and take the free shuttle

Those planning to attend the ceremony should park at the civic center on Howard Avenue, where Coast Transit will provide free, continuous shuttle service beginning at 3 p.m. Shuttles will return guests in time for the 6:30 p.m. dedication at the civic center.


See them today or wait until they re-open

If you miss today’s dedication of the visitors center, you’ll have to wait until Aug. 8 to see the inside of the building again. That’s because the city wants contractors to safely wrap up finishing touches after today’s ceremony.

The civic center, however, will be fully open for business, hosting its first function, the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce third annual business expo, on Thursday, July 21.

And although the Biloxi Public Library, which adjoins the civic center, will be open for tours this evening, Librarian Charline Longino plans to formally open the library to the public on July 25, once librarians have been able to stock all books and other materials.


About the buildings: Get ready for state of the art

— The visitors center is an $11 million, 24,000-square-foot, two-story facility that houses nearly a dozen multi-media exhibits that tell the story of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Both floors of the beachfront facility include abundant space available for receptions or meetings, and the second floor also features a theater that will regularly show a 10-minute video titled “We are Biloxi.”

— At more than 70,000 square feet, the Biloxi Public Library and Civic Center is the largest municipal building ever constructed in Biloxi. It’s actually two buildings — a 22,000 square foot library and a 50,000-square foot civic center — separated by a large outdoor courtyard. The nearby Biloxi Community Center, which will now be used for seniors programming, could fit inside the footprint three times. The civic center will feature a portable dance floor and balcony seating for viewing.

Both facilities were funded by Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.

More online: Today’s official program, the mayor’s preview, and a look at other work

The programs: To see the official programs for today’s two ceremonies, click here.

The mayor’s preview: Mayor A.J. Holloway gave a preview of the visitors and civic centers during a nine-minute video overview of Biloxi’s overall rebuilding program. To see the video, originally shown at the State of the City in February,
click here.

A word about quality: When the “We are Biloxi” documentary premieres today in the visitors center theater, it will be the latest creation from the Steve Harding Design Group, a Houston firm that specializes in multi-media exhibits.