Biloxi Land Swap Almost Official - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/22/04

Biloxi Land Swap Almost Official

The Salvation Army wants to turn Biloxi's Yankie Stadium facility into the City of Hope Community Center.

"There will be a performing arts center. We hope to incorporate a Library in that facility. There will be a large community room so we can have community events in the area. That will be supported by a kitchen. We will also have a gymnasium. We will also have swimming pools," Salvation Army Board Member Frank Genzer said.

The city wants to turn the Salvation Army's property at the old Dukate Elementary site into a replacement for Biloxi's aging community center.

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says, "The Biloxi Community Center across the street is old, it's antiquated, it's just not functional for larger events."

But even though all parties involved are in favor of the land swap that would get both projects rolling, one councilman says he first wants to make sure the residents who live in the effected areas are informed and in favor.

"I'm so much in favor of it, but I don't want to proceed without first having a meeting with the constituents which I represent, Ward 2, and of course the surrounding Wards," Eric Dickey said.

Barring any last minute changes of heart this almost done deal should gain final approval in about two weeks. The city and the Salvation Army are both anxious to get started on their respective projects.

"I think it will still be a grand project that we just can't turn down. So I would say within two weeks we'll come back and revisit this project and hopefully vote in the affirmative," Dickey said.

The 30,000 square foot Salvation Army Center of Hope will be built and funded by a $22 million endowment from the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation of California.

by Don Culpepper

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