Howard Ave. key to Biloxi downtown restoration - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Howard Ave. key to Biloxi downtown restoration

The idea is to rekindle old Biloxi. The mayor is anxious to get people behind the concept. (Photo source: WLOX) The idea is to rekindle old Biloxi. The mayor is anxious to get people behind the concept. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Tuesday, the Biloxi City Council will get a look at Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich's ambitious plans for downtown development around Howard Ave. The hope is to encourage businesses to open in the area and provide an atmosphere where visitors to the city can explore downtown Biloxi.

Reviving a once vibrant Howard Ave. in downtown Biloxi could be a conductor for creating business opportunities in the city. 

The Gilich administration is studying a plan to reinvigorate the area. Old photographs in the lobby portray a period in the city's history when the Vieux Marche was a bustling place.

"It's something I feel very passionate about. Many of my friends from my generation, as well younger generations, they want to see that authentic Biloxi look," said the Gilich. 

On Tuesday, the city council will get a look at the mayor's plan. A $50,000 study is underway. The key is to bring two-way traffic back to the Vieux Marche district. With MGM Park and plenty of hotel rooms around downtown, the thinking is to give people a reason to spend time and money downtown.

"What makes the Biloxi downtown different from other downtowns? Thousands of hotel rooms. Look at Hard Rock, Beau Rivage, and Oak Manor. We're going to have all of these people. We think this is going to be the rebirth of Biloxi," said Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel. 

The urban renewal movement of the 1970s took away the natural flow of traffic through the area and changed what was a successful formula of mixing business and residential activity along Howard Ave.

The idea is to rekindle old Biloxi. The mayor is anxious to get people behind the concept.

"We're identifying what we would like to see. Phase one and phase two. We want to pull the trigger on this in the next several months," Gilich said.

The council will review the plans at a workshop Tuesday. Residents will have a chance to comment at a public hearing in July.

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