Gulfport seeks legal help over construction battles

Grasslawn in Gulfport
Grasslawn in Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport will spend up to $30,000 on a consultant with one responsibility: Come up with a way to open Grasslawn and the Dedeaux Road Community Center. Both complexes are built, but neither building has received an occupancy permit.

Now, the longer they remain vacant, the more the city, the contractor, the project manager, and the architect blame each other for the delays.

Frank White says he and other Gulfport seniors are caught in the middle of an ongoing debate over construction issues concerning the Dedeaux Road Community Center.

"My concerns are, primarily that it's not been opened yet. And it's more or less been promised over a period of time," White said.

Construction issues are what has led to a delay in occupancy for both the community center and Grasslawn. During that process, Frank White and his exercise partners have been forced to temporarily use a much smaller and less equipped location. He said keeping the group's momentum has been difficult.

"I understand what the delays are, but we're looking forward to the building being open so that we can come here and start doing things," White said.

"We haven't released a certificate of occupancy yet, so they're not habitable yet. So we have to assess what the issues are," said Gulfport City Councilman Ricky Dombrowski.

Though the construction appears to be complete for both buildings, numerous deficiencies have left the structures uninhabitable and all parties involved playing the blame game. The one thing both sides agree on is they want the problems resolved.

"We want this building running, we want it open. It is the citizens of Gulfport, the taxpayers' building, and we want it to be up and running," Dombrowski explained.

The city has allocated funds to hire an outside lawyer and contractor to pin-point and fix the remaining issues.

In the meantime, citizens like Frank White will be patiently waiting, hoping some kind of resolution is found in the near future.

"Hey we're all old right? Old folks need exercise. Yeah people can say well they can go out and do their own exercise. I go to Sam's and walk, that's how I get my exercise right now. But I'd like a coordinated program for me," White said.

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