Citizens give input on Biloxi downtown development plans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Citizens give input on Biloxi downtown development plans

Business owners in Downtown Biloxi say a plan is needed to make the area more appealing to consumers and pedestrians, and to attract new business. (Photo source: WLOX) Business owners in Downtown Biloxi say a plan is needed to make the area more appealing to consumers and pedestrians, and to attract new business. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The downtown revitalization plan for the City of Biloxi is one step closer to becoming a reality. Planners heard input from citizens Tuesday at a public hearing.

Peoples Bank President Chevis Swetman says he has a vested interest in getting more people to downtown Biloxi, because he owns five properties in the area.

"The people will be better served if we take the second stories of the buildings, and convert them to studio apartments," Swetman said. 

His ideas will be taken into consideration by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District.

Councilman Kenny Glavan says planners want to take the project in phases. Up first: returning Howard Ave. to two-way traffic for drivers.

"In August, we'll hear more with the final study," Glavan said. "Today, they wanted to get more input, and as they gather more data, we'll have a more complete plan to consider.  The development of the Saenger, along with its other attributes, will go first.  Hopefully, it will get investor confidence up, and get some life going with the project."

Downtown business owners say a plan is needed to make the area more appealing to consumers and pedestrians, and to attract new business.

Planners say camouflaged parking garages will be a goal, keeping with the idea of a visually pleasing and cohesive group of buildings for the downtown area.

They also say they see a great opportunity to add landscaping and art around Merit Hospital and to connect the casinos and downtown with crosswalks at MGM Park and the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

Developers say the first phase of the project would cost around $1 million. They also say they'll apply for grants to help offset some of the costs.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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