Welcome to GulfCoastNews.com

Biloxi Community Center in Final Phases of Restoration
Bookings Now Being Accepted

From: City of Biloxi   Vincent Creel  Filed 12/3/07 GCN

The City of Biloxi announced has announced that the Biloxi Community Center -- in the final phases of a nine-month restoration -- is now taking bookings for events scheduled for January and thereafter.

Mayor A.J. Holloway made the announcement after touring the facility, which essentially has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, when it sustained as much as 6 feet of floodwater in Hurricane Katrina, and well as lost parts of its roof and southernmost wall.

Workers with Starks Contracting Co. of Biloxi face a Dec. 23 deadline to finish the work at the Howard Avenue facility, which hosts its first carnival ball scheduled for Jan. 11.

Visitors to the new Howard Avenue facility will be greeted by a $2.4 million, FEMA-funded upgrade that has seen the installation of a new roof; new dance floor; addition of an elevator and exterior stairwells; a new interior earthtone color scheme; new lighting and sound systems; and, courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, new cushioned seating in the balcony area.

“The Biloxi Community Center is the workhorse of all municipal facilities in Biloxi,” Holloway said, noting that the facility in 2004 was booked 248 days – nearly 70 percent of the time. “During its nearly 50 years since 1968, this community center has hosted hundreds of wedding receptions, family reunions, birthday parties, dances and all sorts of special events. Back in April, when we let this contract, we were well aware that Mardi Gras balls were going to want to be back in here in January 2008, and we’re glad to be able to accommodate them.”

Tina Cowart, a city staffer who handles reservations for the facility, said several of the 13 carnival groups who annually use the facility have already booked their dances for January. They are Krewe of Athena, Jan. 11; Biloxi Elks Lodge 606 Carnival Ball, Jan. 12; Krewe of Billikens, Jan. 18; Young Matrons, Jan. 19; Les Masque, Jan. 25; and Les Pierrots, Jan. 26.

Three others groups, as of today, have opted to remain at the Donal M. Snyder Communtiy Center in west Biloxi, and others are expected to sign up soon.

“The best news of all is that this facility is opening in time for January, which traditionally has been its busiest time of the year because of carnival season,” Holloway said. In Janunary 2004, the Biloxi Community Center had 41 event days. “Carnival season represents probably 10 to 15 percent of the bookings at the community center, but the krewes generate 60 to 70 percent of the people who use the facility.”

---To see photographs of the work in progress at the Biloxi Community Center, from today and from five months into the nine-month project, click here.

---Those interested in booking the Biloxi Community Center should send proposed dates and contact information to reservations@biloxi.ms.us

Welcome to GulfCoastNews.com