Biloxian Will Fight Casino Zoning Request

Cynthia McEldowny has wonderful memories of life on Crawford Street near the back bay.

"We would sleep on the porch, have the windows open," the lifelong Biloxi resident remembered. "It was beautiful."

In her mind, Mrs. McEldowny can still picture shrimp boats unloading seafood. The pictures are in her mind because most processing plants near Crawford Street are gone. The reality now facing McEldowny is that her new neighbor could be the Golden Gulf Casino.

"Our neighborhood is eventually going to be hacked away with these character changes," she said.

McEldowny believes the character changes started when Biloxi widened Bayview Avenue and renamed it Back Bay Boulevard.

"We didn't want this here," she said. "We've got a lot of children on this road and in our neighborhood. And with this character change, they're going to wipe us out of existence. We're all that's left of our Biloxi heritage. We're all that's left of the point."

One of the reasons the city redid the road was to make it more attractive to casino developers.

Vincent Creel is Biloxi's spokesman.

"This road is going to help move traffic and it's going to spur economic development," he said, "which means jobs for people in Biloxi no matter where they live."

The city council public hearing on Golden Gulf's waterfront zoning change is Tuesday at 11:00 am.

The area that needs to be rezoned is north of Back Bay Boulevard, south of the old Bayview Avenue, and west of Crawford Street. Part of the property in question is RM 25 Multiple Family Residential High Density. The other is RS 5 Single Family Residential High Density.