BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A new and improved gate for Keesler Air Force Base is now one step closer to being completed. Biloxi city leaders say they've hired an appraiser for the land around where the new gate will be constructed.
Business owners near the intersection of Forrest Avenue and Division Street in Biloxi agree with city leaders that the new gate to Keesler will have a positive effect on the area.
Vincent Creel with the city of Biloxi said, "This will be a main gate for Keesler. It will be a great thing, right off interstate and on base. It will be a new gate to Keesler, and an economic development project for Biloxi. It will bring a new vitality to Division Street at that gate."
Creel said a motion was passed Tuesday to move forward with hiring J. Daniel Schroeder to figure out property values at the proposed construction site, right off the I-110.
"It was a key step today to get the appraiser on board and go in and evaluate properties on Forrest Avenue we will need for where the gate will go. That step was done today, and the contract will be signed within next week," Creel added.
Creel said the new gate will have multiple favorable effects for the base.
"We think that a gate like this, with a 5-lane boulevard, is something that befits Keesler. We need to have domineering entrance into the base, and that's what this will do. It will also move traffic safely, you won't have the railway issue you have now. It will also give Keesler more room," Creel noted.
The city will be able to purchase the property it needs to break ground when property owners and the city are able to come to purchase agreements.
Creel said the federal and state governments, along with Keesler, have worked together with the city for this project. The contract with the appraiser will likely be signed within the next week. The appraiser will then evaluate the properties and report back to the city.