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Biloxi to Build New Park at Lighthouse

By Keith Burton - GCN 2/20/07

Biloxi has big plans for a new park centered around the city's landmark, the Biloxi Lighthouse. Monday, the City Council unanimously approved the plans for the park, which will include a museum featuring the city's heritage. The museum will be built to look similar to the beachfront mansions that were lost from Hurricane Katrina.

The proposal includes buying land north of the park where two gas stations were located. The land is adjacent to property already owned by the city that was where the Danzler Housing and Biloxi Chamber were located prior to the hurricane. The only thing remaining is a statue of the French explorer Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d'Iberville that somehow survived the hurricane.The preliminary plans include widening the media to provide a better buffer for the lighthouse, this would mean moving a portion of the highway by about 12 feet. The city plans to ask MDOT for approval to widen the median.

Funding for the project is coming from a $2.5 million Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant. This grant is derived from federal oil leases in the Gulf. The city also plans to add another $8 million in federal hurricane recovery money designated for downtown revitalization work. The city says that the CIAP grant money will be used for purchasing the needed land.

Currently the location is unsightly with two destroyed gas stations, a destroyed fishing pier and beachside restroom that is only pilings. The city's land just to the northeast of the lighthouse was cleared of debris months ago and is an empty lot.

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