BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been over a year since the historic Saenger Theater opened its doors to an audience. Issues with the building have kept the theater closed, and it will stay that way until repairs can be made.
Biloxi Mayor Fofo Gilich says he’d like to see the Saenger Theater restored to its former glory.
“To have those things like the symphony, you know they wanna call it home again, and so many dance and vocal and theater kinds of experiences that were used on and on and on. We wanna bring that back to the Saenger,” Gilich explained.
A lack of funding has halted those plans for reconstruction, but now the mayor is taking a different approach. The mayor put out an RFPs or request for proposals to restore and operate the downtown theater, and he got traction.
“We had four proposals, with some asking for more time. But we had a number of visits. Folks when they saw the facility itself, particularly the inside, the level of interest turned up, so we’re really excited about the public/private opportunity," Gilich said.
Mayor Gilich believes he knows what the driving factor was in getting groups interested.
"I think the whole thing that brought this to attention was the need to seal the envelope. In other words, the brick walls had some damage, as well as the roof. If we seal that envelope, that’s our share of fixing the place, so it can actually be productive in those cultural affairs and events. We think the opportunity is there,” he reiterated.
So far, four, possibly five groups, have expressed interest in saving and restoring the historic theater. The mayor says the city is still working through the proposals, and he confirmed all of the proposals came from groups outside of Biloxi.