Main Street Biloxi is about to launch a new web site promoting downtown. It's the latest move in an ongoing effort to attract more merchants and visitors to the historic area.
Changes in recent years include the removal of the awning over the Vieux Marche, the demolition of a dilapidated rest room and the dedication of a downtown park.
The removal of overhead canopies exposed the attractive architecture of the Vieux Marche.
"There's really a lot to offer downtown. It's got some beautiful historic buildings," said Kay Miller.
She directs the Main Street Biloxi program.
Things like added green space and colorful flowers help make the area pleasing to visitors. Miller says information from a recent business survey will soon be incorporated on line.
"We are about to put that into a web site so that developers and visitors or anyone can click onto properties or businesses downtown and find out all about them," she said.
Attorney Michael Collins purchased a building and is relocating his office just a few doors down. He's worked in the downtown for more than 20 years.
"It's a good place to be for professional services. I don't think there's a high volume of traffic for a lot of retail. Some specialty retail maybe. But it's excellent for professional services because we have the courthouse nearby, city hall is nearby," said Collins.
Mike Hutter would like to see more retail business in downtown Biloxi, especially in the Vieux Marche. He's a downtown business success story. His Spanish Trail Books opened seven years ago.
The bookstore owner understands that downtown Biloxi is a work in progress.
"My view of the area for a long time it's been not only the historical center of the city, but it's also become the center of the tourism industry. We're in close proximity to the gaming and there are a lot of people coming around and not a day goes by that people are up here looking at the history and looking for things to do," said Hutter.
Mike Hutter and others are hoping this new year will mean even more visitors discovering downtown.
Main Street Biloxi has several ongoing events to help promote downtown. The "brown bag it" lunch series resumes in the Spring. The group is also planning more "Drive In Movies" at the Biloxi Town Green.