Every weekday at 1:30, Don Williams basically becomes a Pass Road traffic light. He stands in the middle of Pass Road, and stops four lanes of traffic. When the intersection is clear, school buses pull out of Biloxi's Agincourt Avenue barn.
If Wal Mart gets its way, the crossing guard will be replaced by a real light.
Developers recently changed their Pass Road entrance design. Under the new plan, buses will come from the north. Shopping traffic will head south, into a shopping complex proposed by the A.D. Juldan group.
"The golf course was going to be sold," project consultant Cliff Kirkland said. "They made an offer. It was accepted."
The Biloxi Rotary Club invited Wal Mart developers to lunch. Rotarians wanted to see and hear what the President Broadwater golf course could look like someday.
Kirkland told the club that at first, he was reluctant to become part of the development, "because I certainly don't want to lose the golf course. But a business decision was made. And once that decision was made, the issue then was what is the highest and best use for that property."
Wal Mart is just one of the businesses proposed for the 200 acre President Broadwater land. If everything is built, developers think the project could mean more than three million dollars in taxes, just for Biloxi. So Don Williams was asked if that was enough tax money for the crossing guard to give up his corner on Pass Road.
"I don't make those kinds of decisions," he laughed.
If he did, Williams said he would raise his sign, and stop the Wal Mart project.
"I would keep the golf course," he said. "We have one, two, three, five Wal Marts within a 10-15 minute drive from here. We'll never have another oak tree like that. Or another pine tree like that. Not in our lifetime."
Wal Mart has agreed to save several clusters of trees on the golf course property. It also plans on donating land to Biloxi, so the city can build a new east west road. All of this is contingent on the city council rezoning the President Broadwater golf course.