Governor Unveils $5.9 Million for Biloxi Waterfront Plans

From:  City of Biloxi    9/29/19   GCN

Gov. Phil Bryant Friday afternoon directed $5.9 million of Mississippi oil and gas royalties to the City of Biloxi to fund ambitious waterfront enhancement projects on east beach and Back Bay.

Biloxi's two grants are part of Bryant's 2019 GOMESA projects funded by the state portion of leases for energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. GOMESA is an acronym for the federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which provides for oil and gas leasing and revenue sharing in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We have worked closely for a couple years with Gov. Bryant and Joe Spraggins at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to develop dynamic waterfront experiences for our residents and visitors," Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said. "We appreciate their support of these two new projects that will help facilitate greater enjoyment of, and protections for, our waterfronts."

          (Right:  West Biloxi Boardwalk)

The $3 million east beach project involves a new mile-long, 10-foot wide boardwalk from Oak Street to the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Placed on top of the boardwalk will be a 36-inch high knee wall suggested by Gilich and designed to help trap blowing sand from reaching U.S. 90. One-third of the funding on east beach involves changing to a heavier, less-powdery sand, as Gilich suggested to the state. A future addition to the same area will include an expansion of the popular Kuhn Street Boat Launch and parking bays.

"This project on the east beach is a multi-faceted effort to provide a model area for beach enjoyment and sustainability," Gilich added. "Gov. Bryant started the process with his first two Wave-designed upgrades and reduction of outfalls along that breachfront. The boardwalk will provide more accessibility for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists, while the knee wall and heavier sand will help address the continuing problem of blowing sands on Highway 90."

On Biloxi's historic Back Bay, a 10-foot wide boardwalk constructed between Bayview Avenue and the shoreline will enrich that waterfront experience with a new recreational opportunity.The boardwalk will be west of Forrest Avenue. Future enhancements could include a joint living shoreline project with Mississippi State University and an ecotourism development involving Keegan's Bayou.

See a map of the planned East Beach improvements
See a map of the planned Back Bay improvements
Video: Take a tour of the West Beach Boardwalk
Video: See November 2018 status of Point Cadet Boardwalk