East Biloxians Share Their Vision For City's Rebirth - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Biloxians Share Their Vision For City's Rebirth

When Curtis Harrison hired a contractor to rebuild what Katrina destroyed, he made sure his Keller Avenue home was above FEMA's flood elevation levels.

He said he rebuilt on the same land that got hammered because "I was born and raised here."

And according to Harrison, "Ward one is my favorite spot."

Ward one is on the eastern tip of Biloxi.  It's where Harrison often sits on a swing he put up underneath his recently raised home and forgets about his troubles.

The Biloxian rebuilt his hurricane damaged dwelling right behind the Pelican Cay condominium complex because he couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

"Ward one's got a fantastic future," he says. "It looks quiet now, it looks deserted. But you can feel the vibrations of progress. You can feel the vibrations of growth. It's coming. It's going to be good."

Harrison made sure he was one of the first east Biloxi homeowners south of the railroad tracks to reconstruct what Katrina knocked down.

In fact, on a walk around his construction site, he said moving never crossed his mind.

"It was just when and how. That was my only question."

He called the rebuilding project on the streets surrounding his east Biloxi home "our chance to shape ward one back into the nice atmosphere we had before."

Harrison serves on the Biloxi Planning Commission. So he has a say in what the area surrounding his home eventually looks like.

"I want to see the progress with the casinos and the condos. But I also want to make sure we preserve our heritage and put back a lot of residential," he says.

That would certainly please David Luke. When the Kuhn Street resident was asked if he wanted to remain in east Biloxi, he says, "Oh yes. Sure."

Not only does Luke own a newly rebuilt home on Kuhn Street, he runs an east Biloxi ice house that sits on the back bay. He's been contacted by developers who'd like to turn both sites into commercial projects. So far, Luke's said no. However, he know more offers will likely come.

"It's just a way of life," Luke says. "Nothing we can do to stop a domino reaction."

Curtis Harrison disagrees with that assessment. He's says east Biloxi's future isn't a game of dominos. It's a jigsaw puzzle -- with casinos, condos, retail shops and homes all fitting together.

"It's going to be great," Harrison said. "I mean I see a lot of progress down here. Your casinos and everything will be concentrated more further east. But I look for this area to be some nice residential."

If you'd like to take a closer look at the rebuilding plans being considered, click the following links:

by Brad Kessie

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