- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The city of Gulfport will spend $4.1 million in Hurricane Katrina recovery money to build a restaurant and bar, bait shop, and fuel dock at the local harbor.

Another $318,717 from the Mississippi Development Authority will add utilities, drainage, lighting and pavement for two alleys in Gulfport’s renovated downtown.

Chief Administrative Officer John Kelly told The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1076xwP ) existing businesses may be able to use the alleys for outdoor seating. Vendors also could set up there. The city must determine what utility lines run under the alleys before any work is done.

At the harbor, Kelly said the city will replace bait and fuel shops now housed in moveable cottages, which sit at ground level. He said the new building will be elevated about 26 feet above ground because the harbor is in a hurricane velocity zone.

Kelly said the city has plans for a three-story building with dining and a wraparound porch where cocktails can be served on the top floor. The city wants the restaurant to offer sections for fine and informal dining so people can come in from the beach for burgers or enjoy a formal night out. The city also wants the fuel dock open around the clock.

Kelly said the city plans to allow vendors to set up on the concrete slab under the building to rent bicycles, jet skis or any other items people might want for a day at the beach.

In addition to a new marina, Gulfport’s harbor already includes pavilions for entertainment and a farmer’s market, a playground, a splash pad, picnic areas and a tensile structure used during festivals.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Kelly said. “Quite frankly, I think the community really values it. The best evidence of that is the use. There are not many weekends that something isn’t happening down there.

“There’s a sense of vibrancy and that’s what we wanted. If it’s going to be Mississippi’s front yard, there’s got to be activities,” he said.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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