It was decision time in Biloxi, Tuesday. That's when the city council had to award bids for the new Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, as well as the adjacent Waterfront Park. If the council members failed to do so, they could lose FEMA funding. However, city leaders couldn't move forward until they figured out how to reduce what was once a $1.5 million shortfall.
Architects were able to drastically reduce the deficit for the museum, but not without cutting out many of the amenities like louvered blinds on the windows.
Director Robin Krohn-David said, "I'm going to be really concerned about our exhibitory in the museum if we don't have these louvers and these blinds."
To help the museum, some council members suggested putting the adjacent Biloxi waterfront park on the back burner, but that wasn't an option. Since the museum site work is in the contract for the park, it's no park, no museum. Drastically scaling back the park plans was not possible either. City officials said legally more than a 10 percent reduction in either contract would mean starting over with bids. That would jeopardize FEMA funding. In the end, the council voted to give the museum an additional $200,000 and cushion some of the cuts.
Councilman Tom Wall said, "We were able to add some things back and add a little bit more money to this project. And I think we satisfied everybody."
"It's going to be a great number one attraction for the city of Biloxi," said Councilman George Lawrence. "It's going to bring our history and culture out to the public."
David said a fundraising campaign planned for next year could pay to bring back some of the features that had to be cut now.
"That will be the museum's responsibility. We feel like we can find some additional funds to do that," David said. " Before, you couldn't really go out and raise any funds. The building wasn't started... And so now it's a done deal and it is going to happen. So, yes, after the first of the year we'll start running and raise some money for our history and heritage of Biloxi."
"I'm excited. I just want to bring the museum back to the people in the city of Biloxi," said David. "They've waited a long time to have their history and heritage and their story told and all I want for Christmas is concrete."
Work is scheduled to begin in December. The Biloxi Waterfront Park is a $4.2 million contract. The museum contract is for $7.4 million.
Friday, August 29 2014 4:50 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:50:26 GMT
Special Judge Hollis McGehee has decided to dismiss an election challenge filed by Chris McDaniel..More >>
Special Judge Hollis McGehee has decided to dismiss an election challenge filed by Chris McDaniel. The judge announced his decision Friday in Gulfport, but that may not be the end to the legal battle between the two candidates.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:30:06 GMT
Gruesome and disturbing new details were revealed Friday morning in a pre-trial hearing for the man accused of killing 5-year-old Janaya ThompsonMore >>
Gruesome and disturbing new details were revealed Friday morning in a pre-trial hearing for the man accused of killing 5-year-old Janaya Thompson. The Gulfport girl was sexually assaulted and strangled in July. Alberto Julio Garcia is charged with capital murder in the case. During Friday's hearing, prosecutors revealed that DNA evidence found on Janaya's body has come back from the crime lab with a positive match for Garcia's DNA.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 3:40 PM EDT2014-08-29 19:40:25 GMT
Officials continue to search for the man who beat and robbed a woman during a home invasion in Yazoo City on Monday night. According to her family, 85-year-old Jeanelle Fratesi answered her front doorMore >>
According to her family, 85-year-old Jeanelle Fratesi answered her front door for a person she thought needed help.
Friday, August 29 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:45:32 GMT
It was a short and simple ceremony on the Biloxi Town Green Friday morning to mark the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. High school students solemnly read the names of those killed by the storm.More >>
A small crowd gathered on the town green in Biloxi on Friday morning for the annual Hurricane Katrina observance. Nine years after the storm, Mayor A.J. Holloway acknowledged the tremendous losses, but also talked about the significant progress that's been made in the years since.More >>