Back Bay Casino Boundary Nearly Set

Mark Beverin stood on his five acre D'Iberville property and pointed toward the back bay. If the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopts its proposed boundary regulation, some of Beverin's waterfront property west of I-110 could be sold to a casino developer.

"I would be tickled to death to see something come in here," Beverin said.

That possibility got a boost when Secretary of State Eric Clark told gaming commissioners he's now comfortable that this specific back bay location won't hinder the flight mission of neighboring Keesler Air Force Base.

When Secretary of State Clark spoke to the gaming commission, he said he supported the new boundary proposal extending 1,200 feet west of I-110. But he also made this point clear; any projects that threaten planes landing at Keesler will not get a tidelands lease, and therefore will not be built.

What that means is no hotel and no casino can be more than 170 feet high. And casino lights can't be a distraction to pilots.

"If there is a proposal for a casino in that area that meets those requirements and falls withing those parameters, we will look at it," Sec. of State Clark said.  "But if it does not meet those requirements and fall within those parameters, we won't."

For the people who live immediately west of I-110, a clearly defined boundary could finally bring casino development to D'Iberville's shoreline.

"We would like to see development here," Mark Beverin said. "We really would. How long it's going to take, I've been waiting five years. I would sure like to see something happen soon."

Last week, the commander of Keesler Air Force Base sent a letter to the secretary of state. It said that as long as developments within the casino boundary are no more than 170 feet above sea level, Keesler's flight operations and flight training will not be directly impacted.