Mayors Look At East Biloxi Revitalization - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/24/03

Mayors Look At East Biloxi Revitalization

Lynn O'Brien grew up in east Biloxi before Point Cadet had a casino towering over it. "I think it's doing wonderful," she said of her old stomping ground. "It's really changed a lot since I grew up here."

Former Biloxi mayor Gerald Blessey used two phrases to describe east Biloxi in the year 2003. "A lot of success, and some missed opportunities," he said.

Almost two decades ago, Blessey's administration came up with waterfront development plans. He pulled those plans out of a closet in his Biloxi home. "I'm proud of the fact that it has produced a tremendous economic revival for east Biloxi," the former mayor said.

Blessey pointed to the Isle of Capri's arrival as one of the waterfront success stories. However, he said, "I think the lack of pumping that money that they're getting from the Isle of Capri, the three million dollars a year, into improving the neighborhoods in east Biloxi, that was the idea, this would be a ripple effect. The rising tide lifts all boats sort of thing."

Current mayor A.J. Holloway defended his administration's work in east Biloxi. "I don't agree with that because we are doing a lot," he said.

Mayor A.J. Holloway said the future site of the Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art was a good example of how the entire east Biloxi area was being revitalized. He also mentioned the seafood museum expansion and the new paths for Caillavet Street and Back Bay Boulevard. "So things are happening in east Biloxi. And it's happening in neighborhoods," he said. "I think east Biloxi has a great future to it."

So does Lynn O'Brien. Her old east Biloxi neighborhood looks a lot different than it once did. But she's still proud to call it home.

Mayor Holloway said a committee made up of city, state and IHL members just met. The group looked at how the J.L. Scott Aquarium should be rebuilt. The committee is supposed to come up with a plan, so the aquarium can capitalize on the development changes around Point Cadet.

by Brad Kessie

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