Joint Land Use Studies Announcement
Military bases play a big role in our national security and have a major impact on our local economy and community. News 25’s Laurene Callander explains how grants from the Department of Defense and Mississippi Development Authority will fund joint land use studies for Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and the Seabee Base in Gulfport.
They say good neighbors are hard to come by, but both Keesler Air Force Base and the Seabee Base are teaming up with the cities they lie in to make the best of their locations. Military and city leaders joined together to announce joint land use studies in both areas. NCBC Commanding Officer Captain Cheryl Hansen said, “A joint land use study typically looks at like 25 different factors when it comes to what are the types of potential encroachment and compatibility, we want compatible land use overall, is what we want between the base and the community.”
The study’s purpose is to eliminate potential conflict between military installations and their surrounding communities, while monitoring development and growth. Keesler’s study is earmarked at $185,000 and the Seabee Base will cost about $260,000. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes said, “The men and women in uniform, they respond. They have their own missions, but they do give a lot of themselves in a voluntary basis and in good and bad times, they’re always here and vice versa, we’re here for them, too.”
Biloxi Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich said, “We can do a lot of great things together, challenges that can be met together, so I couldn’t ask for a better relationship really.”
The joint land use studies are expected to be underway for the next 12 to 18 months. Both military and city leaders agree the positive outcomes and growth will benefit the entire Coast. Keesler 81st Training Wing Commander Col. Michele Edmondson said, “It’s just another great example of the relationship the military enjoys on the Gulf Coast. For Keesler, we couldn’t be happier living in Biloxi’s backyard and we want to make sure we are the best mission partners we can be, and I think the City of Biloxi feels the same way.”