Council to get briefing on issues at proposed site of seafood museum
Mayor A.J. Holloway plans to give the Biloxi City Council an update on issues involving the city property on east beach where the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum wants to construct a museum.
The City Council has called a special meeting to hear the latest on the project.
The museum is proposing to use money from the city — $3.44 million in FEMA funds and $2.59 million in insurance money — to construct a beachfront museum where the antebellum-era Tullis-Toledano Manor had been located before being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Meantime, the city has been warned by FEMA and MEMA that the site contains “many intact cultural deposits and the adjoining property contains Native American burial sites,” and “there is a high potential for substantial increases in cost of building at this site, as well as extensive time delays.”
FEMA, which has conducted two archaeological surveys at the site, has said that the city must follow detailed requirements — including obtaining a consent agreement and mitigation plan signed by state and federal historic authorities, FEMA, MEMA and “all involved Native American Tribal Historic Preservation Officers” — or jeopardize a portion or all of the available FEMA funding.
MEMA director Mike Womack, in echoing FEMA’s concerns, notified the mayor that “potential scenarios could arise beyond the control” of the city.
Holloway says the city has reviewed the letters, which were received last month, and has begun the process of working on a detailed mitigation plan and obtaining consent from state, federal and Native American Tribunal representatives.
Said the Mayor: “FEMA and MEMA are warning the city and the taxpayers of Biloxi that we are getting ready to go down a road where there are a number of unknowns, and that there is a strong likelihood that we are going to face significant cost increases and excessive time delays, with the possibility of jeopardizing funds.
“The goal here is to make sure that the council and the public are aware of that before we continue down this road.”
To see the letters from MEMA and FEMA, click here.
To receive a daily copy of this column, click ‘subscribe’ at the top of the page; to leave a comment on the article, scroll to the bottom of the page.
This article was prepared for the Examiner by Hank Richards. To send a letter to the editor or report a breaking news story, contact Richards at (256) 417-6084, by email [at] [email protected] or visit his website at www.pronlinenews.com