The Biloxi (Miss.) Housing Authority (BHA) is considering building a recreational vehicle park on U.S. 90, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported, despite backlash from privately owned parks.
Owners of other campgrounds in the city said they have been struggling since Hurricane Katrina and are just getting back on track from the oil spill. They don’t welcome more competition.
“The Housing Authority should be for people that need housing,” said Jonathan Mikovich, who operates the nearby Cajun RV Park on U.S. 90 with his family.”
His wife, Susan added, “Our tax dollars are going to compete against us.”
Bobby Hensley, director of the Biloxi Housing Authority, said there is another side to the story. He said if the campground is built, the housing authority will pay taxes like everyone else. And he said the campground would support public housing.
Hensley said the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and federal government have told housing authorities they need to find ways to make money.
“Our contract with the government is probably going to be cut in half next year,” he said. BHA has to find some way to supplement its income, he said, or close apartment complexes and cut staff.
“This is something HUD wants us to do,” he said.
Before Katrina, the Biloxi Housing Authority operated an apartment building on the approximately six-acre site of the proposed RV park. The property is in the “Velocity Zone” and even if they were to rebuild there, Hensley said they couldn’t get insurance. “It’s not suitable for residential housing.
He said a waterfront RV park is one of the best uses, because it could be evacuated before a hurricane. It would have a swimming pool and other family amenities.
The Housing Authority tried to sell the property, and Hensley said it got one bid, for less than $100,000.
Jerry Creel, Biloxi community-development director, said he’s heard from RV park owners in the city who are upset with the Housing Authority’s plans.
Several other RV parks operate within a few miles of the proposed campground. In addition to Cajun RV Park, Southern Comfort Park is on U.S. 90, and Fox’s RV Park and Majestic Oaks are in the area. Other RV parks are near Interstate 10 in North Biloxi.
Hensley said the housing authority will continue to look at opportunities for the property, and hasn’t decided if the site will become an RV park.