Gulfport harbor may open sooner than expected - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport harbor may open sooner than expected

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport Small Craft Harbor may be making its Hurricane Katrina comeback earlier than expected. City leaders say they're looking to get the harbor open in the Spring, which is months ahead of what was originally projected.

Gulfport leaders say the restoration of the harbor is so close that the city has started asking boat owners who docked there before the hurricane to submit location preferences for boat slips.

"We're driving some of the last pilings down there by the bulkhead  on the end of 20th and putting the fuel dock in," said Council Member Libby Milner-Roland. "So we're getting close to being finished. Laying some of the last boards on the piers."

Officials say this will be a harbor Gulfport will be proud to show off.

"The piers and the power platforms are almost complete," said Milner-Roland. "I believe it's 319 boat slips that we're going to have. We hope to be open sometime in the Spring, and you really can't appreciate it until you walk the piers. They are absolutely wonderful. It's going to be the best harbor on the coast. "

Jones Park is also taking shape with a new comfort station, water fountains, landscaping, and play area. Council member Libby Milner-Roland is just as happy about improvements that people won't see.

"I think the thing I'm most pleased with, if you'll notice, there are no wires down here," Milner-Roland said. "It's all underground wiring, so the lights and things are just standing in their own beauty. We don't have anything that's obstructing the view."

The price tag for the harbor restoration is about $17 million. Officials say the cost is being split between insurance and FEMA money.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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