Biloxi To Resume Lighthouse Tours - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/17/05

Biloxi To Resume Lighthouse Tours

A coast landmark that's been off limits to the public for four years, is about to re-open.

The City of Biloxi will soon resume public tours of its famous lighthouse.

It's been called the most photographed landmark in Biloxi. And visitors to the Biloxi lighthouse have had to settle for just taking pictures the past few years. The city halted public tours of the structure in 2001 because of safety concerns.

August Taconi says visitors who ride his tour train are often asking why they can't visit the top of the landmark.

"It's an adventure. I find people that travel all across America. And they just want to go up in the lighthouse," said Taconi.

Sheri Munter is museums manager for the City of Biloxi.

"We're taking every effort to make sure that when we do open it, we keep the public safe. And that's part of the reason it has been closed, so we can resolve some safety issues with the lighthouse," she said.

South Mississippi's summer heat is among those concerns. Thermometers at the top and bottom of the lighthouse will let tour guides know if it's too hot inside the cast iron structure.

"So our tours will be early in the morning, at the nine o'clock hour, simply because of the heat," Munter said.

Tour guides will direct visitors and limit the number of guests who climb the 55 stairs to the top.

"Right now, we're probably thinking we can accommodate five people. Then with the attendant up there, that makes six," she said.

Along with the heat, another safety issue involves getting across busy Highway 90. When the public tours resume, tour guides will also serve as crossing guards, making sure visitors get safely across the busy highway.

"We are very excited. It's been awhile since we've had it open," Munter said.

Daily tours of the lighthouse will begin in about three weeks.  Admission will be two dollars for adults and one dollar for children and senior citizens.

The tours will be held at 9AM Monday through Saturday.

By Steve Phillips

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