Council Discusses East Biloxi Development

The future of East Biloxi prompted discussion and disagreement among city council members Tuesday.

The city is considering hiring an urban development specialist to create specific plans for new housing and businesses in that area.

Main Street is in the center of the proposed development area. It was also at the heart of the city council debate.

City councilman, Eric Dickey, raised concerns and voiced frustrations about the future of Main Street. The council is considering hiring a consultant to oversee development plans for all of East Biloxi, but Dickey and others say Main Street has been studied enough. They say it's time to stop planning and start doing.

Tearing down the old housing project at Bayou Auguste to make way for new homes is among the many positive changes coming to East Biloxi.

An urban development group, The Enterprise Foundation, wants to help the city oversee the redevelopment of East Biloxi.

"Everything must be integrated. So, we would take a look at what's been done already and see how we can integrate that into a larger, more comprehensive plan," said urban consultant, Lawrence Anderson.

Ward two council member, Eric Dickey, says Biloxi already has years worth of planning from the Main Street development project.

"The people on Main Street, the Main Street steering committee, along with the Biloxi development commission, work has been in vain from the standpoint we've been planning for four and a half years. Why do we need to continue to plan?" wondered Dickey.

Mayor Holloway says The Enterprise Foundation would move beyond plans.

"These people have access to individuals. To mortgages. To people that can come in and rebuild and revitalize. We have a plan. That's just a plan. We have to implement it," said Mayor Holloway.

"I think we could lose an opportunity here if we don't coordinate what we're doing. A lot of investment has been secured to go into East Biloxi. But we've got to do a good job of seeing that this growth and investment is coordinated," said Ward 3 councilman, Jim Compton.

The owner of a bookstore in the Vieux Marche says East Biloxi neighborhoods should reap the benefits of the changing city which now surrounds them.

"I think it's time now that our inner city neighborhoods share in the prosperity and revitalization," said Mike Hutter.