BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Mayor Andrew 'FoFo' Gilich was sworn in for his first full term Wednesday evening; sounding familiar themes to honor and preserve the past while bringing progress for the future.
Gilich also leaned on some advice he says he's picked up over the years: "Take care of the obvious," and "If it's stupid, we're not going to do it."
Focusing on the obvious, Gilich cited the often painful process of completing the massive infrastructure project in East Biloxi saying, "there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
The massive job of rebuilding water and sewer lines along with roads sidewalks in East Biloxi has left residents, business owners, and leaders frustrated. And, it's far from over.
Gilich pledged to stay on top of the contractors and manage the next round of infrastructure repairs differently.
The mayor also pointed to completing long-term projects like moving the main gate to Keesler Air Force Base away from the railroad tracks at White Avenue, the West Biloxi boardwalk and waterfront development, and building a new fire station in Woolmarket. He also pledged better accountability of MGM park finances.
In addition to new development, Gilich says it's time to restore parts of Biloxi's past to help encourage economic development downtown. He called the historic - but deteriorating - Saenger theater a jewel in need of restoration.
Even so, Gilich admitted it's been difficult finding the money to make it happen; with attempts to secure $2 million from the State Department of Archives and History.
"We haven't been successful, but we're going to keep bulldogging it," Gilich told the crowd.
Restoring the Saenger lines up with the mayor's plan to eliminate one-way traffic at the Vieux Marche, and breathe new life into Howard Avenue as an economic corridor.
Gilich also pointed to another obvious need in the city, to help the homeless. City Council recently rejected Gilich's plan to convert Beauvoir Elementary into a homeless resource center, but that's clearly not the end of the discussion for the mayor.
"The homeless problem is complex but must be addressed. We can't duck the issue," said Gilich.