BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mayor Gilich is taking aggressive steps for a complete restoration of the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown Biloxi. The City of Biloxi said the mayor strategically chose to hold the city's inauguration at the Saenger, to showcase it to everyone tuning in.
Newly-elected Biloxi Councilman Nathan Barrett said, "I think it's a great idea since the city wants to do a revitalization project. It's a great way to get a group here, and be a start for that."
Architect Frank Genzer said he's proud to be a part of the mayor's plan to revitalize downtown Biloxi, starting with the Saenger.
"I'm excited, worked with mayor originally to put together a budget for restoration of this building," Genzer said. "We have a contract right now with Pickering Engineering to re-do the engineering for the street, and a long way to go before implemented. But we'll be working on design standards for what we hope the buildings will look like."
Cecilia Dobbs Walton with the City of Biloxi said Mayor Gilich's vision includes restoring downtown to its original glory.
"He continues to actively seek funding and grants. It's a historic building, so it can't be done just like that; it's a process. He wants to bring it back the way it used to look years ago," Walton explained.
According to the city, the Saenger has a leaky roof, causing water damage to the building. It's just one of a number of issues Mayor Gilich hopes to fix in the next four years.
"We've got a lot of problems to address, we have ideas for restoration. We also want to restore the waterfront to the way it used to be, so people can enjoy walking along the waterfront," Mayor Gilich said.
Mayor Gilich said the theme for his next four years in office is "transformation and restoration," and he sees the Saenger Theatre as one of Biloxi's gems.