Biloxi marks trio of milestones in Katrina recovery

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Four years after Katrina, the City of Biloxi marked a "triple crown" of achievement on Friday. Mayor A.J. Holloway led residents and visitors on a trio of milestones.

Two ground breakings and a ribbon cutting made for a very busy morning in downtown Biloxi. They arrived by trolley at the lighthouse for the first of three dedications.  A proud mayor called it a great day for his still-recovering city.

"I'm glad to see you here this morning for the first stop on our trio of milestones in downtown Biloxi," said a smiling Mayor A.J. Holloway.

The new lighthouse visitors center evokes memories of antebellum mansions along the waterfront.

"Many of the beautiful and historic residences along the beach road were lost in the storm. And the new visitor's center intends to restore some of that elegance and provide an appropriate backdrop for the Biloxi lighthouse," said project architect Doug Dale.

Children from Nativity BVM provided the countdown and the mayor joined other dignitaries in breaking the ground.

Historic Howard Avenue was stop number two for this ground breaking, ribbon cutting crowd.

"I had a vision when we thought about Howard Avenue. And I wanted to see an attractive street, with small town charm. And I think we have that," said the mayor, standing next to a trolley parked on the newly rebuilt street.

"The project is about a 3,000 foot stretch of Howard Avenue.  It's the first phase of many phases of Howard Avenue to take it from where we started here today down to Myrtle Street," said engineer Brian Fulton.

After trading his shovel for the giant scissors, the mayor snipped the ribbon to officially re-open Howard Avenue.

Moments later and just a short walk down the new road, another milestone.

"Ground breaking for the new library and civic center," said the mayor, "This new facility will be one of the largest municipal facilities ever constructed in Biloxi. This is going to be a facility we can be proud of. It will compliment our architectural style in Biloxi and serve us well for generations to come."

The new building includes a 25,000 square foot library.

"What we will have when this project is completed will be a very impressive public edifice that will provide a vital community service for years to come," said library director Robert Lipscomb.

Less than an hour after the "milestone tour" began, the mayor grabbed another shovel and made this ground breaking official, ending a whirlwind morning of post-Katrina milestones.

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