BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - We now have a better idea of the road improvements that need to be made in order to create a new main gate for Keesler Air Force Base. An architect has released a preliminary design for upgrades to a one mile stretch of Division Street. However, Frank Genzer is stressing these designs are very preliminary and nothing is set in stone.
Some people with businesses on Division Street say the added traffic could attract more commercial development. As a long-time business owner on Division Street, Gary Morykwas said he'd love to see this as the road leading to Keesler Air Force Base's main gate.
"I don't have much parking lot in front of my business as it is, but I would love to see it all developed," said Morykwas. "With the gate down at Keesler because it's going to bring a lot more traffic through here for business."
Before a new gate can be built, Biloxi officials said upgrades must be made to the one mile stretch from Forrest Avenue to Interstate 110.
"We wanted to design it in such a way that it would end up being an entrance into the city from Keesler," said Genzer. "So, it means it's a boulevard design. Trees in the middle. Trees on the side. "
Genzer said Division will have to be widened slightly.
"There will be an increased right of way, but at this time, the city hasn't decided exactly what that right of way is. You're seeing the sketch in its early stages," said Genzer. "Right now, there's limited sidewalks. Right now, there is limited appeal to that street itself. We are saving all of the institutional structures like Back Bay Mission and the churches and all that will be saved. We will be able to have biking paths as well as pedestrian paths, so I think it will be very appealing to commercial development."
Morykwas said while the plans sound nice, he's not ready to get too excited.
"For 20 years I've heard that they were going to cut a gate back there for Keesler," said Morykwas. "Maybe it will happen in the next five years or so. I hope so, but either way, I'll benefit from it being on this street."
Biloxi officials are scheduled to meet with engineers Thursday to get an idea of what the designed Division Street improvements would cost.