Gulfport prepares for groundbreaking

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Families are once again enjoying Jones Park, now that the playground and splash pad are finished. Sidewalks are under construction and now work is set to begin on the new three story Harbor Services Facility.

"What is a city along with water without a harbor? Where people can dock their boats and where tourists can come and recreate," said Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel.

Like so many other structures, the old Harbor Services building was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The mayor said the new building will be an improved version of the original.

"It's more in keeping with the new design of the harbor. It's much higher above sea level, so it won't be destructed in a normal storm. Can't say it'll be hurricane proof, but we hope it'll be a little more sturdy, " the mayor said. "As soon as we get a few more amenities done in the park and we get most of the construction out of the way, we hope to have boats in the harbor sometime, perhaps this summer."

Constructing the $1.7 million facility is just one piece of the puzzle that promises to put the harbor back together again.

"Right after this project, we'll be doing the new pavilion, which will be our multi purpose pavilion. We're rebuilding the Ship Island lighthouse now," said Schloegel. "We'll have pavilions in the middle of the park with a nice amphitheater so we can have outdoor concerts. It'll be a real fine recreation place. This is Mississippi's front yard."

There are also plans to construct a terminal for Ship Island Excursions.

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