A pedestrian crosswalk already is approved over U.S. 90 at MGM Park baseball stadium, but the Biloxi Council questioned Tuesday whether and where a second overpass should be built in the downtown.
Mississippi Department of Transportation will pay much of the cost of the crosswalk that will extend from near the Beau Rivage Parking Garage to the stadium. The second crosswalk, proposed to be constructed near the Small Craft Harbor, will be financed from the city’s recent port bond, said Mike Leonard, chief administrative officer.
Yes, Biloxi will have two pedestrian overpasses three blocks apart, he said, but the idea is to get people from the downtown and two new hotels are under construction just east of Main Street safely over U.S. 90 to the Small Craft Harbor. There’s a shortage of parking at the harbor, he said, and the crosswalk would let people park across the street and walk over to the restaurant, casinos and the waterfront.
Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said the city studied connecting from the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi parking garage directly across to the Biloxi Town Green, where he said it would be nice to give direct access to events there.
While that might be the ideal location, Lenoard said,“substantial” underground utilities are located there, including those that support the Hard Rock and Beau Rivage casinos.
The proposed location has the overpass crossing from the Small Craft Harbor on the south side to the Watermark Hotel and Hilton Garden Inn under construction adjacent to each other on the north side.
“I think it’s the most cost efficient location, “ Leonard said.
The council on Tuesday approved spending $6,000 on a geotechnical study to determine if the soil near the harbor can support the pilings for the crosswalk, but questioned the location and whether people would use the crossover. Councilman Kenny Glavan, who is a manager for the company that is building Watermark Hotel, was out of the room for the discussion and vote.
Leonard said he thinks those who question the need for the crosswalk underestimate the number of tourists staying in the casinos who get out and walk around.
“The development in this town is moving to the east, block by block,” he said. In addition to the two hotels, a new Mugshots restaurant is under construction on Main Street and another restaurant and more development could follow.
Gilich said the city also plans a 3,500-foot long boardwalk from the Small Craft Harbor east to Kuhn Street in that same area.