New energy in downtown Gulfport

Over the years we have done dozens of stories about downtown Gulfport attempting to come back and be a healthy retail, business and residential area. For the most part many of those ideas, dreams and programs have not lived up to what they have promised. However, recently we have noticed a new energy in downtown Gulfport.

The facade program which started last year has transformed what in many cases was an ugly exterior into an attractive looking building. Three new restaurants will open up in the next couple of months. At least one will have an outdoor seating area to allow diners the chance to enjoy the breezes off the Gulf.

Also we just heard of another couple starting a business on the ground floor and living above in the recently renovated second floor.  Just last week a program was launched called Streetscape which will give the downtown a fresh look. There will be new lights, benches and landscaping for all to enjoy. Highway 49 will return to the look of a boulevard like it was many years ago.   There will be palm trees lining the center of the street. New sidewalks will be built to provide safer and better access to downtown businesses. The World War II Memorial downtown will be refurbrished.

Combine all this with the work going on at the small craft harbor and Jones Park and downtown Gulfport has the chance to regain some of the luster it has lost in recent years. If you haven't been to downtown Gulfport lately, take a drive or better yet walk around downtown and witness some of the progress being made.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV Station Manager

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