The Department of Parks and Recreation is the primary agency providing informal and highly structured recreational services for the City of Biloxi and surrounding areas. The Department currently operates and maintains 51 facilities including parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, athletic fields, walking tracks, tennis and basketball courts, the Biloxi Community Center, the Biloxi Natatorium and the Donal Snyder Center, and coordinates numerous special events and programs for citizens of all ages, throughout the City.
Recreation and the leisure environment can be considered a basic necessity of human life. Recreation encompasses a myriad of activities that result in satisfaction for all citizens. Recognizing that the benefits of Parks and Recreation are so important, this department will endeavor to assess the needs of our citizens and create programs and facilities to satisfy those needs.
Significant improvements have been accomplished at our facilities following many years of deferred maintenance. Additionally, major construction and Hurricane Katrina repairs and improvements are underway. We continue to follow the guidelines set out in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. As we work toward providing safer and more fulfilling parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and recreation centers, this plan offers useful guidance and direction.
We expect to be very busy this year overseeing major hurricane damage repair work at numerous Department facilities. Some of this work may extend over the next several years, due to the magnitude of the damage. We have closely coordinated with FEMA, MEMA and the Administration on the damages and the preparation of the project worksheets necessary to begin repairs. Some of the work is currently underway and other work will soon follow. Our estimate of the total loss and damage to our facilities is approximately 7.4 million dollars.
The City of Biloxi has benefited greatly from the generosity of many people and corporations following Hurricane Katrina. Our Department has new playgrounds that were donated and installed by KaBoom, The Home Depot and The Allstate Foundation and The Injury Free Coalition for Kids, with the help of hundreds of citizen volunteers. These new facilities are at John Henry Beck Park, Miramar Park and the park behind the Margaret Sherry Library. Hands On America has performed much volunteer work in the transformation and rebuilding of John Henry Beck Park.
This department's responsibility is to provide wholesome leisure time programs and facilities for the citizens of Biloxi, thereby helping people to enjoy themselves. We believe that through recreational activities we can provide all citizens the opportunity to grow physically and emotionally, expand artistically, and find an improved quality of life and wellness.