GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday morning signaled the start of an ambitious renovation of Gulfport's Jones Park. The $1 million first phase of a three phased project will feature a splash pad, green space, new sidewalks and more.
Jones Park has always been considered one of the most valuable pieces of property in the state.
"It's Mississippi's front yard," Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel said Thursday.
Roy Anderson Corporation won the contract to restore the park. The project will be financed by federal Katrina recovery funds. The thinking is that the new park will be a cultural and recreational bridge between the downtown area and the city's waterfront.
"There will be some real synergy from downtown to the small craft harbor," Councilwoman Libby Milner Roland said.
Phase one gets underway at the same time CTA begins construction of a new bus terminal and comfort station. Gulfport plans to stick to a tight time schedule on both the Jones Park project and the rebuilding of the harbor.
"We hope to open the harbor by the fall of next year and complete this project in the same time frame," Mayor Schloegel said.
The city of Chicago made a generous $500,000 contribution to the Jones Park renovation.