Kenny Barhanovich spent the day doing some repair work on his charter boat. While he worked, the skipper reflected on his summer fishing expeditions. "It's been a fairly good year," said Barhanovich. "Not like the last three. But it's a survival year."
Barhanovich's boat docks at the Broadwater Marina. Because it's in west Biloxi, he just decided to join the year old Biloxi West Beach Association. "I think the more we do in this location with our group of people down here," he said, "I think it will be better for the whole community."
Ten hotels and two casinos make up the Biloxi West Beach Association. David Anderson is the president of the group. He said improving the whole community is its main objective. According to Anderson, "There's no place for the children to play. There's no place for them to go. And that was our idea of how to bring people down that are families. That's what we used to have, and that's what we're coming back with."
As soon as school started, hotel swimming pools emptied. So did hotel parking lots. Just like that, managers said mid-week business at non-casino properties virtually disappeared. But instead of pointing fingers, Biloxi West Beach Association members rallied together. They're putting the onus on themselves to get people back to this part of town.
"That's what we were formed to do," Anderson said, "to let people know west Biloxi is still here. And we've got everything to offer."
An advertising campaign showcasing west Biloxi is about to begin. Association members expect it to produce results in a year. The Biloxi West Beach Association formed in July 2000.
The 10 members are hoping other tourist related businesses join the group, so the entire area can speak with a unified voice.