SUN HERALD | Editorial: Is nightlife here to stay in downtowns along Coast?

July 8, 2014 

Kress Live and the Level Nightclub had grand openings during the crowded Fourth of July weekend along the Vieux Marche in downtown Biloxi.

While a few busy nights do not guarantee lasting success, there is a sense that the once vibrant heart of Biloxi may be poised to entertain residents and visitors better and later than ever before.

It is the same feeling that has been making downtown Gulfport a more and more attractive destination for dining and nightlife.

And it is catching hold in Long Beach as businesses slowly but surely fill the gap along Jeff Davis Avenue between Beach Boulevard and the central business district.

And of course there's the rich variety of dining options in Ocean Springs and the increasingly inviting evening venues in Bay St. Louis.

These new ventures need more than casinos, who themselves provide ample opportunities to eat and drink.

They need, to borrow that old real estate phrase, "location, location, location."

And they have it wherever you look along the Coast.

Even cafes and bars out of sight of the Mississippi Sound are cooled on hot summer nights by breezes off the Gulf.

And while we have lost much of our architectural heritage to both Camille and Katrina, there are still beautiful buildings that we ache to see brought back to life.

There is also the unrivaled linkage of Beach Boulevard, permitting easy access from one cluster of neon to the next.

And more amenities are on the way.

Gulfport's Jones Park has proved it can attract and accommodate major crowds. The new baseball park under construction in Biloxi promises to accomplish the same.

To keep track of the progress, the Biloxi City Council will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. July 15. Jerry Creel, Biloxi's community development director, will provide an update on plans for both the Vieux Marche and Caillavet Street.

Similar meetings are also held in other cities. We encourage your involvement.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.

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