GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Boat owners eager to dock at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor will have to wait a little longer. The city had predicted 319 boat slips would be ready for Spring. But now officials say that won't happen until mid-Summer. The mayor said the end result will be worth the wait.
"This is the time of year people want to crank up their boats," Mayor George Schloegel said. "So we're running a little behind on that, but we hope to have them in very soon. Construction time. We've run out of time on the contract, but we're almost there."
There are plenty of harbor projects keeping construction crews busy. Workers just poured the last concrete for a sidewalk that surrounds the harbor, and Mayor George Schloegel said a new Harbor Master's House is going up and will be dedicated next week.
The mayor said the city is committed to protecting its investment.
"The buildings are coming up, as you can see," said Mayor Schloegel. "The structures that you see raised above sea level are ones that will put the transformers and the pumps and so forth 25 feet above tide so that in future storms they won't get damaged by the water."
When the last construction crews leave, hopefully in the summer of 2012, the mayor said the Harbor will be a place Gulfport will be proud to show off.
"This is Gulfport's front yard. It's really the front yard of the entire state of Mississippi and so putting it back, not like it was before Katrina, but better than it's ever been before is historic and certainly an economic driver."
Initially, the city gave first choice to boat owners who had slips in the harbor before Hurricane Katrina. The mayor said that process is over and rentals are now available to the general public.