Nearly $1 Million to fix Biloxi's Katrina-damaged Harbor Master's House

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi officials say plans are finally underway to use nearly a $1 Million to restore one of the city's largest lingering eyesores that remains after Katrina. Mayor A.J. Holloway says he expects the city to award a bid in the next few weeks to repair the Harbor Master's House in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

It's nearly August 2009 and the Harbor Master's House still looks much like it did in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina blew through. Biloxi officials say the hold up has been a dispute with FEMA over whether to put the bathrooms and showers back on the first floor.

"We figure that so what if the bathroom is washed out. It's not that big of a deal to us. We can go back and put it back,"said Mayor A.J. Holloway. "But you know FEMA. They don't like to pay for repetitive loses. That's why they make us move them supposedly out of harm's way."

The bathrooms will go on the second floor. Once repairs are done, the building's exterior will look the same as it did before the hurrican. The interior will have storage on the first floor and a new layout on the second and third floors to make room for bathrooms.

"We had a huge conference room on the inside. It was a tall auditorium in there. That will be changed to office spaces and the third floor will also have offices in it," said Mayor Holloway.

Mayor Holloway says FEMA is paying $900,000 to $950,000 to renovate thee Harbor Master's House in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. If the bid is awarded next month as planned, the mayor says the work should be complete in six to eighth months.

Mayor Holloway says he knows people have looked at the eyesore and wondered why what has take so long.

"A lot of people say 'Well, it's been four years since Katrina and we haven't done anything to the marinas there.' Well, we have been."

"It took us a year and a half to clean up the mess that was made before we could start rebuilding. So actually we're talking about three years or two and a half years since Katrina."

The city of Biloxi is looking forward to one less reminder of a storm that devastated the city. Mayor Holloway says FEMA is also paying to repair the Harbor Master's House at Point Cadet Marina. The building will also now have an elevator.

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