Gulfport plans for annexation

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The new Gulfport administration will have a big task when they take office. The city wants to annex land north of Orange Grove.

After a closed door session with land owners and attorneys, five of Gulfport's seven council members approved a measure that may extend Gulfport's city limits.

"The annexation would be great because we have people moving up in that area and that's great," said Ward one Councilman Gary Hollimon. "And it's a new opportunity for investing homes for senior citizens. We also have the port coming in the near future and it will be a great opportunity for affordable homes in that particular area."

Hollimon was one of five council members who voted in favor of annexing two and a half square miles near Highway 605. It's a 1600 acre gift from landowners of the proposed site.

"Those of us who are on this council now, we've covered our basis and we need to take action," said Ward six Councilman Neil Resh.

"The developer has agreed to fund all of the necessary infrastructure work in this area and at the same time the city gets additional area for much needed housing," said Public Information Officer Ryan Lafontaine.

Councilwoman Barbara Nalley isn't concerned with infrastructure, she worried about what another annexation will mean for potential residents.

"When the city annexed where I live in Orange Grove in 1994, I see the problems," said Ward seven Councilwoman Barbara Nalley. "I see the services that we are just now providing all these years later and some areas still don't have the services."

Nalley voted against annexation. So did Ward three Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines.

"These services of fire, police, garbage, existing streets, libraries, zoning. It's a daunting task," said Holmes-Hines.

Both women said the city should allow the new administration to make decisions about the annexation proposal. But Mayor Warr and other city leaders say there's not time like the present.

"If you're not growing, you're dying," said Mayor Warr.

Now the city is forging ahead with plans to expand the city of Gulfport. Plans for the annexed land include 500 new homes.

City leaders mentioned that they may have to be prepared if Biloxi or Harrison County wants the land.

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