- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Biloxi City Council members want the city to create a strategic plan to speed the flagging redevelopment of Caillavet (KY’-a-vet) Street.

WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1m3migC ) reports that businesses have been slow to relocate along the thoroughfare, which Biloxi spent $9 million to widen and enhance before 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

It has been more than a decade since Desporte and Son’s Seafood relocated to Division Street from Caillavet Street. The family-run store was among the many homes and businesses uprooted to make way for a wider Caillavet Street.

“I wish we could have still had the property where the IP is,” business owner Sean Desporte said. “It would have been really good right by the casinos, but we’re doing really good over here. You adapt to the environment you’re at, so we’re doing really good.”

Millions were spent to entice businesses by widening the road and putting in new sidewalks and lighting, yet city leaders admit the commercial boom never came.

“One of the biggest problems we’ve had was when Hurricane Katrina struck,” said city spokesman Vincent Creel. “We were just wrapping up the Caillavet Street project, and what has happened since the hurricane is we’ve had the oil spill, we’ve had the national recession and a large part of that has been declared a flood zone along Caillavet Street.”

Business owner Fred Schwan said the area has other obstacles as well.

“People are having trouble wanting to spend the money in this area,” he said. “It’s a low lying area. Insurance is tough. Loans are tough to get right now. People need an incentive to come and build in this area.”

Creel said city leaders hope that additional street improvements, along with a new minor league baseball stadium on the Mississippi Sound end of Caillavet, will entice more businesses to locate along the street.

“What we think is going to happen is once we build that extension of Back Bay Boulevard to Pine Street, we’re going to have a traffic loop that will connect Pine Street with Back Bay Boulevard, Caillavet and Highway 90,” Creel said. “We think the baseball stadium is going to be a big impact for all of Caillavet Street there.”

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Information from: WLOX-TV, http://www.wlox.com

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