Harrison County

Here’s what Biloxi has accomplished, and where it’s going next

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich already has filed qualifying papers to run for re-election in May, and on Wednesday he gave a reminder of all that has happened in Biloxi over the past year and what’s ahead.

“Biloxi is unlike any other city in the country,” Gilich told a sold-out crowd at the 27th annual State of the City sponsored by Biloxi Bay Area Chamber of Commerce at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

Gilich thanked the voters who supported him in the special election 20 months ago, and said he is working to turn his vision for Biloxi into reality.

“And all of us will be able to revisit some of those great Biloxi memories,” he said.

Here are some of the accomplishments Gilich listed, and some of the goals he has for the city:

1. He envisions boardwalks from DeBuys Road, the western border of Biloxi, all the way to Point Cadet and the Back Bay, with walkers, runners, cyclists and boaters enjoying waterfront recreation and restaurants along the way.

2. Biloxi was awarded $250,000 to build a train platform and is the only city between New Orleans and Orlando that already has a multi-modal transit center. “All we need are the trains,” he said.

3. Biloxi is working on a homeless servicing center in the city to help people transition into housing.

4. The amount of money FEMA and MEMA owe Biloxi for infrastructure work has decreased to $7 million from $16 million when he took office.

5. The city has about $200 million of the $365 million infrastructure construction still to come. The work starting soon south of the railroad tracks work won’t be like the north contract, he said, but more like the much smoother construction to rebuild the north end of Popp’s Ferry Road.

6. Margaritaville Resort Biloxi and Hyatt Place added nearly 500 new hotel rooms last year, an 8 percent increase in one year, and 700 more rooms are in the works over the next two years.

7. Two new fire stations are being designed for North Biloxi and Woolmarket.

8. Biloxi has 5.7 million visitors a year, “and we intend for that number to grow,” he said.

9. Sewer work will be done this year in the Holly Bluff and Cedar Lake areas.

10. Construction is on track for the Biloxi Junior High to be ready for students in August.

Gilich also talked about creating a new entrance to Keesler, the 25 years of casinos and the high tech jobs he hopes to bring to Biloxi.

“We are making progress but we need to quicken the pace and expand the scope,” Gilich said. “My job is not done. It has just begun.”