Funding announced for project to connect Mississippi Aquarium to Jones Park

Funding announced for project to connect Mississippi Aquarium to Jones Park

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gov. Phil Bryant has announced six projects totaling more than $23 million that will be funded through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). Among the allocations is more than $6.8 million for a tramway tying Jones Park to the Mississippi Aquarium Campus and the new Coast Transit Authority Transit Center.

Work continues on the new CTA Transit Center in the old Gulfport library next door to the Mississippi Aquarium. The long-term goal is to tie both projects to Jones Park across U.S. Highway 90.

That’s why it was big news when Bryant dedicated the funds to build a tramway or pedestrian bridge over the highway.

21st Avenue between the CTA garage and new transit center and the aquarium is forever closed to motor traffic. It will become a pedestrian mall. The tramway will originate there, cross Highway 90 and unload people into the northeast corner of Jones Park. It will be a creative alternative to vehicle transportation with public safety and planning for the future in mind.

“There are several elements important to the tram bridge, said CTA Executive Director Kevin Coggins. “Number one, a large amount of pedestrians on the north side of the highway need to get across for music festivals, Fourth of July events and the Festival of Lights. There are going to be even more events when the aquarium opens, so there is a safety element. It will be pedestrians, bikes and a CTA tram.”

The CTA tram will be an electric vehicle. CTA had already secured federal grants for the tramway. With the $6.8 million coming from the state, funding is now complete for the project.

The tramway will be the final piece in the puzzle, so it’s not expected to be completed until 2021.

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