BILOXI -- The No. 1 topic in Biloxi is a name for the city's new baseball team and not far behind is discussion of what to do with the coveted wood from the Live oak trees that will come down to build the minor league stadium.
Among the suggestions tossed out are using the wood for benches or as architectural features at the stadium, having artist Marlin Miller create a sculpture as he did with his post-Katrina sculptures all along U.S. 90 and allowing the Connecticut museum Mystic Seaport to use some of the wood to restore tall ships, as happened after Hurricane Katrina.
The Biloxi City Council plans to have its say Tuesday. A resolution on the agenda for the 1:30 p.m. meeting calls for the lumber to be used to restore historic boats.
The wood "shall be made available first to the Biloxi Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum for use in the repair and restoration of its historic and replica vessels," the resolution says.
Any wood the group can't use now or can't move to another site for future use will be offered to any national organization capable of removing the trees and using it to restore historic vessels of national significance.
"It's beautiful oak wood," said Robin Krohn-David, director of the Seafood Industry Museum, and is prized for its durability, length and strength.
The restoration of the museum's schooner, the Glenn L. Swetman, was completed last year, and after two years of restoration on the schooner Mike Sekul the work by Bay Marine Boat Works in Biloxi is done, she said. After Coast Guard approval, the boat will again sail on tours along the coast of Biloxi.
Krohn-David said the oak trees can be stored to dry.
"This is for future restoration of both vessels," she said. The wood also can be used to maintain other boats the museum may acquire.
Miller said he has been contacted about possibly doing a carving for the stadium.
He's already agreed to carve a sculpture for the new Maritime & Seafood Museum with wood from that site.
The oak for a carving or bench doesn't need the careful curing required for lumber used in boat repair, he said. Cracks add a little character to a sculpture but slow aging or kiln drying is needed for fine woodworking.
Although some of the trees have to come down to build the stadium, "you can definitely put that wood to use," he said.