A few battered bricks and a cement slab is about all that's left of the BP station that once stood just east of Porter Avenue. But with the Council's vote to purchase the property, the mayor says plans can now get underway to build a multimillion dollar lighthouse park and visitors center.
"The Lighthouse Park is where the BP station was, Chamber of Commerce, and the Dantzler House all that property there. We'd make that one large piece of property, putting what we think is as close as we could to a replica of the Dantzler House," said Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway.
Mayor Holloway says FEMA money will be used to purchase the $572,000 piece of property. He believes the park and visitors center will be an asset for the city, its residents, and people who are just passing through.
"This building is going to be set up where we can have exhibits in, in receptions, weddings, it's about 20 something square feet of a building from the upstairs and down," Mayor Holloway said.
The project will be situated across from the Lighthouse, which the mayor calls an icon of Mississippi. The mayor says the city is also working to purchase property to the West of Porter Avenue, as well as property to the east of the former BP site.
"We're still working with the Biloxi Diocese to purchase the property next to that which was an old convent. When we get that, we can start construction. Well, I say start construction, but we'll be close to starting construction," Mayor Holloway said.
Architects are about 75 percent through with the design work. Once that's done, the project will be bid out. Mayor Holloway says he expects a contract for the project to be complete by the end of the year.
The Dantzler House was built during the late 1800s. Katrina leveled the historic home, but some of the stained glass was salvaged. Mayor Holloway says that glass will be used in the new visitor's center.