Biloxi awards Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum bid - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi awards Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum bid

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

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.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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