Ambitious projects highlight Gilich's first State of the City address

Ambitious projects highlight Gilich's first State of the City address

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi's mayor wants ferry rides to and from Ship Island back in his city.  FoFo Gilich used his first State of the City address to announce he's working with the Skrmetta family to bring the Ship Island Excursions ferry service back to Biloxi.

Years ago, the Skrmetta family docked in Biloxi.  Now, the Ship Island ferry boats sail out of Gulfport. Gilich gave no timetables or firm commitments about whether Ship Island vessels will anchor in Biloxi.

Gilich also said he's in talks with MDOT about building a Highway 90 walkway from MGM Park. That pedestrian bridge was initially part of the ballpark construction project, but it never got built. Now, the mayor says it's a project he supports, and when it's built, its design will give the entrance to the downtown area an Old Biloxi feel.

The mayor opened his presentation to chamber members by saying, "The state of our city is strong and getting stronger every day."

In his prepared remarks, Gilich saluted former Mayor A.J. Holloway for his dedication to Biloxi. Then, Gilich put his stamp on his first State of the City speech.

"Today is a new day. I stand before you to say that we're on the threshold of great accomplishments and even greater opportunity," said Gilich.

The Biloxi mayor has been on the job for 39 weeks, and he's tackled a variety of projects that impact Biloxi residents. Most notably, the construction mess in East Biloxi.

Roads are torn up and creating headaches for homeowners, business owners and city hall. Gilich promised that when the East Biloxi infrastructure projects moves south of the railroad tracks, "It's going to be a whole new ballgame, my ballgame."

Gilich said 55 miles of city roads won't be dug up the way the initial infrastructure work started.

"It's going to be controlled, it's going to be supervised and it's going to be orderly," Gilich said.

Gilich also detailed $15 million in Tidelands projects he wants the legislature to approve. That work includes expanding Point Cadet Marina and the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, and moving all charter boats to the small craft harbor.

He'd also like to create a commercial harbor on Back Bay with boardwalks and pathways that connect restaurants, casinos and water related businesses.

Project number three on his Tidelands wish list is a series of boardwalks and pavilions for the row of restaurants on west beach and a boat ramp in West Biloxi.

According to Gilich, "It's time for us to put Katrina in the rear view mirror."

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