Waveland Mayor Mike Smith gives a state of the city report, looking at current, future and proposed projects that will continue the revitalization of Waveland.
- photos by Lionel Haynes, Jr. and Ellis Anderson
Thankfully, there has been a lot of interest in the Coleman Avenue district, as well as Highway 90. I am really excited over the amount of interest in the Coleman Avenue area. There’s the potential for condos, restaurants, and other prospects that cannot be discussed at this point.
I’m very excited that the lease was awarded to Studio Inferno to take over the vacant spaces of the Waveland business center. I’m really pleased that this business is now open on Coleman Avenue. We believe that it will promote growth in the downtown area of Waveland. These artists are wonderful people and bring a unique type of art culture to our charming little city. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Mitchell and Erica Gaudet, please do so. You will not be disappointed.
2018 will bring the long-awaited and much-needed beachside parking bays along Beach Boulevard, along with pagodas along the walking/biking path. The Nicholson Avenue widening project is also scheduled to begin this year. This project will create a bike path alongside of Nicholson Avenue from Highway 90 to the railroad.
Projects are beginning to break ground such as the much-anticipated lighthouse/bathroom facility, which is in the process of being built and should be completed by summer 2018.
This project is a true partnership between the Board of Supervisors and the City of Waveland. The lowest and most responsive bid received was $1.9 million. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors pitched in more than $800,000 from Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds and the balance is being paid through tidelands funds. This means the cost to taxpayers is zero. We owe a huge “thank you” to the Board of Supervisors.
One very important note: many residents do not understand that the monies being spent on the lighthouse/bathroom facility cannot be used for other projects such as paving streets, or any other project not connected to the beach.
The Waveland Avenue sidewalk project will go to bid very soon. It consists of five-foot sidewalks on the east and west sides of Waveland Avenue, from the railroad to Highway 90. This project was approved for funding in 2015. It is a Mississippi Department of Transportation funded project which means that many departments of the agency have to approve each step. However we are almost over those hurdles.
The citywide sewer repair project will begin shortly, now that the few remaining ROE (Right of Entries) were signed. Please be patient in the areas that are to be replaced. It will be aggravating until these repairs are completed. Major work areas will be Meadow Lane, Herlihy Street and a portion of Gladstone.
A small bathroom facility will soon be constructed at Elwood Bourgeois Park, thanks to the revenue received from the sale of the city’s remaining mobile homes that were previously used as the police station and for Public Works.
The Wikoffs have completed the overview of the Coleman Avenue Plan, which consists of an elevated boardwalk. Businesses would be located along the boardwalk to overcome the challenges with the drastic flood elevations imposed by FEMA. Once the architectural drawings are complete, we will have those available for review, and hopefully garner the support of the community.
We have been approved for funding by the Mississippi Development Authority to build a brand new community center in Martin Luther King Park to replace the center that is there now. The existing center is full of mold and rot and is unsafe to use. The new center will be 1,200 square feet, with a kitchen, indoor restrooms and outdoor restrooms. The center will be available for weddings, birthday parties, etc. The required fee and deposit for the use for these facilities will help defray the cost of insurance and maintenance.
2018 will be an aggressive year for blighted properties throughout Waveland. The Days Frontier property has been demolished and plans are being submitted for two businesses at that location. Other properties are making their way to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for demolition. Mr. George Coatney (litter control) has been hired and is working diligently to keep the city clean, along with help from the Public Works department. Great job!
As you may have noticed, ditches are being dug throughout the city to help alleviate the flooding and will be in a neighborhood near you soon.
The golf cart legislation has passed through the state Senate and will go into effect as of July 1st. The Waveland and Bay St. Louis ordinances almost mirror each other, so that the cart drivers can cross city lines and not have to worry about different requirements.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every citizen for the opportunity to serve as your mayor. It is a pleasure to serve the city I love.