Organization says botanical garden will revive Hiller Park

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Renaissance Garden Foundation hopes to add a new attraction to South Mississippi. Monday, organizers met with residents and other local leaders about building a botanical garden in Biloxi's Hiller Park.

"You have to know about Hiller Park. It's one of the best kept secrets," said longtime resident Leslie Griffin.

Griffin has great memories of playing in Hiller Park. And while he loves the park, he believes there's always room for improvement.

"As long as it doesn't take up all of Hiller Park, because I think there is enough room for it to be spaced out and for people to enjoy it," Griffin said.

If the Mississippi Renaissance Garden Foundation has its way, the Biloxi park will soon be home to South Mississippi's first botanical garden.

"This is a really added attraction," said Clark Griffith.

Griffith is the councilman-elect for Biloxi's Ward four. He said the botanical garden is exactly what Hiller Park needs.

"It would be a drawing card for people to come and visit Biloxi," said Griffith. "And if they visit Biloxi, they stay in Biloxi."

Local architect Frank Genzer agrees.

"I think it's a great way for the city to show its love of the outdoors," Genzer said.

Genzer designed the preliminary plans for the horticultural center that would be housed in the botanical garden.

"We hope that it will be phase one of several other buildings as the botanical gardens grow," Genzer said.

The City of Biloxi has already come to a lease agreement for the land in Hiller Park. However, before things can bloom, residents will have to fine tune their plans and figure out how to fund what they hope will be South Mississippi's premier botanical garden.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.