Drive through the oldest section of Biloxi and you'll see a lot of what's "new." From drainage projects, to schools, to housing developments, over the past few years East Biloxi has been a neighborhood under construction.
Right now construction crews are finishing wiring, drainage and roads for the new Bayou View and Bayou August housing developments. They're also building opportunities for the people who live and work in East Biloxi.
"There's very little affordable new housing in this area," said Biloxi Housing executive director Bobby Hensley. "You have to go outside the East Biloxi to find it. With the jobs that are in East Biloxi, it's absolutely necessary that we provide this for the citizens in this area."
Once complete, hundreds of homes will be available to buy or rent. Hope Six is one of many projects the mayor says reflects a changing East Biloxi.
"We got that grant for the things that we've been doing over the years in East Biloxi that the federal government saw was improving," Mayor A.J. Holloway said.
Improvements are evident all over the East side of town. You can drive down a recently completed Back Bay Boulevard or cruise past a new fire station going up on Howard Avenue. Turn down Maple Street and you'll see workers installing new drainage. If that's not enough, don't forget about the neighborhood's two new elementary schools.
Hensley noted that '"there seems to be a spirit of cooperation here that you don't find in a lot of communities. It has enabled us to get started with the work that we are doing right now."
"It's creating a family community here in Biloxi and as part of a city dies you lose that," said Hensley. "We're restoring that with what we're doing here."
Two years ago, the city surveyed East Biloxi residents about what they thought would help redevelop their neighborhood. The top responses were affordable housing, more jobs and better community safety.