Gulf Coast Community Foundation progress report

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Busch Park in East Biloxi is one of many places the Gulf Coast Community Foundation has planted seeds for progress post Hurricane Katrina.  The Kaboom playground was one of 17 in the lower six coastal counties to receive $750,000 through the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Project.

"It's great to come out and see the kids playing on the playground and enjoying part of the progress we've made since Hurricane Katrina," said Jay Huffstatler, Gulf Coast Community Foundation Project Director.

In all, 13 non-profits have received a portion of the project's $32 million. A dozen community centers, half a dozen daycares and the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Habitat for Humanity rebuilding effort are just some the 26 projects the foundation has supported.

"We've spent probably 2/3 to 3/4 of the entire fund, and we're working to get that done hopefully by the end of the year."

Among the projects in the works, a rebuilding effort to help school districts in Hancock County.

"We're working with the Bay-Waveland School District in Bay St. Louis on two gymnasiums, one at the upper elementary school, one at the lower elementary school, those are now just getting underway," Huffstatler said.

Back in Biloxi, community kids fly high on swings and flip off monkey bars, enjoying the investment made in their community.  Parents, like Antoinette Graves, believe the excitement in the kids' faces says it all.

"I wish they had it when I was little. But, I'm glad. I like it. I'm glad my kids can go out there and got something to look forward to," Graves said.

Huffstatler said if any of the projects are not carried through, the money will go back to the foundation to be used toward a new recovery project.

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